Key to Ladybirds in Ireland

The Key below covers the species recorded from Ireland, apart from two rare vagrants. A few of the inclusions have only very old records (e.g. 24-spot) but are placed in the Key to cover the possibility that they have been overlooked in recent years and may be present but very local.

At this point it is not intended to include all the British species but if a specimen you have fails to key out satisfactorily please try one of the web sites for British ladybirds listed in 'Links & references'.

The key is not infallible.  Some ladybirds species are very variable in both ground colour and spotting.  An inventory, of Irish colour forms would be desirable but is not available, nor likely to become available for some time.  Please bear this in mind. 

If you have a specimen that does not easily match anything in the key it is best to let an expert see it rather than make assumptions about its identity.  Please contact CEDaR at the Ulster Museum or myself at

Key to Irish ladybirds

(!) indicates unusual or rare varieties

1 Upper surface finely hairy; with a up to 24 black spots; ground colour a dirty brown-red 24-spot
Subcoccinella 24-punctata
24 Spot ladybird © Mike Majerus
24-spot *
Upper surface completely hairless, shining 2
2 Elytra coloured black 3  
Elytra paler-coloured, yellow, brown, orange, red, not black 6
3 With pale markings (yellow,orange,red) at the forward angle of the elytra 4  
Pale markings, if present, never at the forward angle of the elytra 5
4 Legs and underside of abdomen black; may have one, two or three pale markings on each elytron; if one, this is at the forward angle; if two, second is central; if three, third is at tip of elytron 2-spot
Adalia bipunctata
2-spot [melanic]
Legs brown; underside of abdomen dark brown to orange; elytra usually has only one marking which is broad and curved inwards and forwards from the margin 10-spot
Adalia 10-punctata
10 Spot ladybird © Mike Majerus
10-spot *
5 Body oval with no lip at elytral margins; usually a uniform black, occasionally with small tan markings at the tips of the elytra or (even rarer) at the middle of the sides Hieroglyphic
Coccinella hieroglyphica
Hieroglyphic [melanic]
Body round and domed; with a well-defined lip around the margins of the elytra; markings always present; form a thin red band or a thin line of small red spots across the middle of the elytra Heather
Chilocorus bipiustulatus
Heather ladybird
6 Elytra a bright orange-red to red colour 7  
Elytra some other colour – cream, yellow, brown 14
7 Spots on elytra pale, 7 or 8 on each elytron; size large (up to 7mm) Eyed
Anatis ocellata

Spots on elytra black 8  
8 Scutellum with a large black spot extending on to each elytron and smaller triangular white spots on the outer sides of this 9
11 Spot ladybird © Mike Majerus
Large scutellar spot absent, or present but without the triangular outer white spots 13  
9 Definitely more elongate than the common ladybirds, nearly twice as long as broad; usually with six black spots on each elytron as well as the spot at the scutellum 13-spot
Hippodamia 13-punctata
13 Spot ladybird © Mike Majerus
13-spot *
Much less than twice as long as broad; rounded oval shape 10  
10 Less than 5mm long 11  
More than 5.5mm long 12
11 With five round spots on each elytron plus scutellar spot; hindmost spots on elytra are occasionally fused to form a black bar; body slightly elongate 11-spot
Coccinella 11-punctata
11-spot © Mike Majerus
11-spot *
With three black spots on each elytron plus the scutellar spot; the foremost spot is usually elongate, forming a dark bar; ground colour often less clear red, more bronze or brown Hieroglyphic
Coccinella hieroglyphica
12 Each elytron with 7 or 8 black spots usually (not always) ringed with cream or yellow; pronotum distinctively marked Eyed
Anatis ocellata
Each elytron with 3 black spots plus scutellar spot; never ringed paler; pronotum different 7-spot
Coccinella 7-punctata
13 Legs black; underside of abdomen black; markings variable but usually with a single black spot in the middle of each elytron 2-spot
Adalia 2-punctata
Legs some shade of brown though may be blackened on the femora; underside of abdomen brown to orange; spots variable, from 2 to 12 and may form a checker pattern 10-spot
Adalia 10-punctata
14 Elytra unmarked except perhaps for some darkening at the suture (where the elytra touch) 15  
Elytra with definite darker or lighter spots 16
15 Elytra light brown to pinkish; sometimes with a dark smudge at the suture; pronotum with a distinctive M-shaped marking Larch
Aphidecta obliterata
Elytra yellow, orange, orange-brown or reddish; pronotum different – with five dark marks 10-spot
Adalia 10-punctata

16 Body elongate and rather flattened; ground colour buff with reddish or yellowish tinge; nine black spots on each elytron plus scutellar spot Water
Anisosticta 19-punctata
Water ladybird © Mike Majerus
Water *
Body domed and a rounded oval shape 17  
17 Spots black 18  
Spots pale 20
18 Femora of hind legs predominantly black; underside of abdomen mainly black; colour of elytra yellow, orange, orange-brown, red-brown; markings very variable – spots may be small or large or mixed, from 2-12 in total, or there may be a dark checkered pattern 10-spot
Adalia 10-punctata
Femora of hind legs yellow, orange or brown; underside of abdomen predominantly orange or brown but may be blackish with an orange tip 19  
19 Elytra bright yellow; with 11 round black spots on each 22-spot
Thea 22-punctata
22-spot © Mike Majerus
22-spot *
Elytra yellowish to cream with distinctly rectangular black markings, often fused to form a characteristic checkered pattern 14-spot
Propylea 14-punctata
20 Ground colour of elytra orange; with 8, occasionally 7, white spots on each elytron Orange
Halyzia 16-guttata
Ground colour of elytra maroon, purple-brown, red-brown to dark brown 21  
21 Lacking any white spots or patches near or beside the scutellum; elytra maroon or brown with 5 cream, yellow or orange spots on each 10-spot
Adalia 10-punctata
10 Spot ladybird - pale spot © Roy Anderson
10-spot [pale spotted]
With white spots or markings around the scutellum 22  
22 Spots streaked or elongated, never all rounded Striped
Myrrha oblongoguttata
Spots rounded, rarely several fused to look like streaks 23  
23 With 6 whitish spots on each elytron plus a rounded scutellar spot on each side of the scutellum; pronotum with white only at the hind corners Cream-spot
Calvia 14-guttata
With about 5 whitish spots on elytra plus a series of fused spots on each side of the scutellum forming a distinctive zigzag shape; pronotum broadly pale along the front margin 18-spot
Myrrha 18-guttata

Photographs © Roy Anderson except those marked with * which are © Mike Majerus / UK Ladybird Survey