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10-spotted Ladybird Adalia decempunctata

The 10-spot Lady Beetle is even more variable than the Two-spotted one above. It is about the same size (4 to 5 mm), but can be a very difficult one to identify at times. Sometimes there is an additional dot on the edge of the shields. This makes you count 11 dots. The one in the picture below is a common varietyas well: the spots on the last part of the shields are missing, hence you count only 8 spots. Besides: it takes this species a long time to reach its final red colour, if ever. So many specimens are brownish, pale red or orange. Brownish animals often have creamy white spots instead of the well known black spots. And if that isn't enough there are melanistic animals: black with red or creamy spots. And these spots are always merged, but in varying ways. An example of such an animal can be seen in the bottom picture. But except for the melanistic forms all animals share a common factor: the neck shield is white with four black dots or blobs, neatly arranged like in a circle around a fifth black spot in the middle. The animal is fairly common on the continent as well as in Britain, but a rarity in our garden.

The larvae