New ladybird in Dumfries and Galloway

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Wednesday 7th October 2009

19- Spot (or Water) LadybirdAutumn 2009 has seen the discovery of a new species of ladybird in the region. With records from two locations on the Kirkcudbrightshire coast the Water Ladybird it seems to be colonising Dumfries and Galloway.

The Water (or 19-spot) Ladybird Anisosticta 19-punctata is a species with relatively specific habitat requirements, confined to wetlands where reed mace and phragmites reed grow. It is a relatively common species in southern and central England, but is scarce further north. Knowing its restricted distribution in the north, the first reported sightings in September by Ella McLellan and Alison Graham at RSPB Mersehead nature reserve sparked great interest amongst DGERC staff. By co-incidence, correspondence with Garth Foster, national water beetle expert, revealed that he had also seen them at Colvend in late August.

A check with the national ladybird recording scheme showed no records elsewhere in Scotland, though the National Museum of Scotland did confirm that there are one or two historical records from eastern Scotland in the 1850s and some unpublished sightings from elsewhere, though none recently. So not quite a first for Scotland, but the certainly the first one for a long time!

More information about ladybirds is available from the UK Ladybird Survey website.