David Element

 

Wildlife Photography and Digital Video Images

 

______________________________________________________________________________________ Beetles 34 – Four-spotted Nephus Ladybirds

 

 

A close up of a rock

Description automatically generated

 

FOUR-SPOTTED NEPHUS LADYBIRD Nephus quadripustulatus

 

A close up of a large rock

Description automatically generated

 

FOUR-SPOTTED NEPHUS LADYBIRD Nephus quadrimaculatus

 

·         The Four-spotted Nephus Ladybird Nephus quadrimaculatus has an association with Ivy Hedera helix (although it may also be found on trees where Ivy is absent, as illustrated above) and despite its miniscule size this beetle is a carnivore, feeding on scale insects (homopteran bugs). The vernacular name has been applied comparatively recently, having been attributed for the purpose of demystifying and popularising the lesser known ladybirds in the superb ‘Field Guide to the Ladybirds of Great Britain and Ireland’, Bloomsbury Wildlife Guides, Roy, Brown, Lewington & Harrower, 2018 ISBN: HB: 978-1-4729-3567-0; PB: 978-1-4729-3568-7. Quite correctly this insect has been categorised as one of the ‘inconspicuous ladybirds’ – because at a maximum 2 mm in length it is! The author recalls trying to photograph a member of this species that Roger Hawkins had taken into captivity during the preparation stages of his excellent ‘Ladybirds of Surrey’ (now out of print but possibly still available on the second-hand market). Capturing it on (transparency) film proved to be anything but easy as the peripatetic little insect kept disappearing from the frame! Fortunately, the example shown above was spotted on the trunk of a Cherry Prunus sp. and it was rather less difficult to photograph from a standing position than the captive insect had been at ground level – and a more dignified affair too. Anyone with an interest in ladybirds should own copies of each of these references.

 

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