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Variability of elytral color patterns in Coccinellidae


Text © Christoph Benisch, 2008–2015, photos © cited authors




1.   Introduction

Many ladybird species (Coccinellidae) exhibit a remarkable variability of elytral color patterns within one and the same species. Especially for newcomers, the determination of ladybirds can be complicated due to the variability of the species.

The polymorphism of numerous Coccinellid species, especially Adalia bipunctata, had been investigated extensively and the results have been published in numerous articles (cf. further readings). The correlation between color and chance of survival during hibernation, activity levels at different temperatures, reproductive success, but also environmental pollution has been investigated and described by a number of scientists.

On this page I'd like to introduce the most common types of color patterns of local Coccinellid species, especially in order to support newcomers in their determination efforts. While we're at it, I'd like to ask for your contribution: If you have made photos of types not yet available in this collection (ideal would be dorsal view), please kindly submit them (for my email address see imprint). I'll put them on this page together with a remark of your copyright.


2.   Short overview

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Filter: Scientific species or family name or name fragment, at least one character.  

Henosepilachna argus Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata Chilocorus bipustulatus Chilocorus renipustulatus Exochomus quadripustulatus Exochomus nigromaculatus Aphidecta obliterata Hippodamia tredecimpunctata Hippodamia variegata Hippodamia notata Hippodamia undecimnotata Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata Tytthaspis sedecimpunctata Adalia conglomerata Adalia decempunctata Adalia bipunctata Coccinella hieroglyphica Coccinella septempunctata Coccinella magnifica Coccinella quinquepunctata Coccinella undecimpunctata Coccinula quatuordecimpustulata Oenopia lyncea Oenopia conglobata Oenopia impustulata Harmonia quadripunctata Harmonia axyridis Myrrha octodecimguttata Sospita vigintiguttata Calvia decemguttata Calvia quatuordecimguttata Propylea quatuordecimpunctata Myzia oblongoguttata Anatis ocellata Halyzia sedecimguttata Vibidia duodecimguttata Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata


3.   Gallery


Henosepilachna argus
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Henosepilachna argus© Andreas Müller

Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata
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Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata© Christoph Benisch
Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata© Johan Verstraeten

Chilocorus bipustulatus
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Chilocorus bipustulatus© Christoph Benisch

Chilocorus renipustulatus
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Chilocorus renipustulatus© Christoph Benisch
Chilocorus renipustulatus© René Köhler

Exochomus quadripustulatus
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Exochomus quadripustulatus© Arp Kruithof
Exochomus quadripustulatus© Christoph Benisch
Exochomus quadripustulatus© Christoph Benisch
Exochomus quadripustulatus© René Köhler

Exochomus nigromaculatus
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Exochomus nigromaculatus© Christoph Benisch

Aphidecta obliterata
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Aphidecta obliterata© Ingrid Altmann
Aphidecta obliterata© René Köhler
Aphidecta obliterata© Christoph Benisch
Aphidecta obliterata© Christoph Benisch
Aphidecta obliterata© Hedy Jansen
Aphidecta obliterata© Ingrid Altmann
Aphidecta obliterata© Christoph Benisch
Aphidecta obliterata© Arp Kruithof

Hippodamia tredecimpunctata
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Hippodamia tredecimpunctata© Christoph Benisch
Hippodamia tredecimpunctata© Christoph Benisch

Hippodamia variegata
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Hippodamia variegata© Christoph Benisch
Hippodamia variegata© Andreas Müller
Hippodamia variegata© René Köhler
Hippodamia variegata© Arp Kruithof
Hippodamia variegata© Kirsten Eta
Hippodamia variegata© Christoph Benisch
Hippodamia variegata© Helga Becker
Hippodamia variegata© Christoph Benisch
Hippodamia variegata© Arp Kruithof
Hippodamia variegata© Kirsten Eta
Hippodamia variegata© Helga Becker

Hippodamia notata
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Hippodamia notata© Christoph Benisch
Hippodamia notata© Ingrid Altmann
Hippodamia notata© Christoph Benisch
Hippodamia notata© Ingrid Altmann

Hippodamia undecimnotata
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Hippodamia undecimnotata© Christoph Benisch
Hippodamia undecimnotata© René Köhler
Hippodamia undecimnotata© René Köhler

Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata
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Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata© Christoph Benisch
Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata© Ingrid Altmann

Tytthaspis sedecimpunctata
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Tytthaspis sedecimpunctata© Christoph Benisch
Tytthaspis sedecimpunctata© Hedy Jansen
Tytthaspis sedecimpunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Tytthaspis sedecimpunctata© Lennart Bendixen

Adalia conglomerata
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Adalia conglomerata© Christoph Benisch
Adalia conglomerata© Eugen Dietz
Adalia conglomerata© Christoph Benisch
Adalia conglomerata© Christoph Benisch

Adalia decempunctata
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Adalia decempunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Adalia decempunctata© Jürgen Peters
Adalia decempunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Adalia decempunctata© René Köhler
Adalia decempunctata© Christoph Benisch
Adalia decempunctata© René Köhler
Adalia decempunctata© Jürgen Peters
Adalia decempunctata© Arp Kruithof
Adalia decempunctata© Janet Rowley
Adalia decempunctata© Christoph Benisch
Adalia decempunctata© Manfred Zapf
Adalia decempunctata© René Köhler
Adalia decempunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Adalia decempunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Adalia decempunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Adalia decempunctata© René Köhler
Adalia decempunctata© René Köhler
Adalia decempunctata© René Köhler
Adalia decempunctata© Jörg Pageler
Adalia decempunctata© Jürgen Peters
Adalia decempunctata© Jörg Pageler
Adalia decempunctata© Christoph Benisch
Adalia decempunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Adalia decempunctata© Christoph Benisch
Adalia decempunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Adalia decempunctata© Christoph Benisch
Adalia decempunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Adalia decempunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Adalia decempunctata© Ingrid Altmann

Adalia bipunctata
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Adalia bipunctata© Christoph Benisch
Adalia bipunctata© René Köhler
Adalia bipunctata© Arp Kruithof
Adalia bipunctata© Arp Kruithof
Adalia bipunctata© Christoph Benisch
Adalia bipunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Adalia bipunctata© Marek Kozlowski
Adalia bipunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Adalia bipunctata© Christoph Benisch
Adalia bipunctata© Alexandru Pintilioaie

Coccinella hieroglyphica
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Coccinella hieroglyphica© Christoph Benisch
Coccinella hieroglyphica© Ingrid Altmann
Coccinella hieroglyphica© Dick Belgers

Coccinella septempunctata
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Coccinella septempunctata© Christoph Benisch
Coccinella septempunctata© Jürgen Peters
Coccinella septempunctata© Jürgen Peters
Coccinella septempunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Coccinella septempunctata© Janet Rowley
Coccinella septempunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Coccinella septempunctata© Dieter Gschwend

Coccinella magnifica
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Coccinella magnifica© Christoph Benisch

Coccinella quinquepunctata
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Coccinella quinquepunctata© Christoph Benisch
Coccinella quinquepunctata© Arp Kruithof
Coccinella quinquepunctata© Arp Kruithof

Coccinella undecimpunctata
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Coccinella undecimpunctata© Christoph Benisch
Coccinella undecimpunctata© Dick Belgers
Coccinella undecimpunctata© Lennart Bendixen
Coccinella undecimpunctata© Lennart Bendixen

Coccinula quatuordecimpustulata
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Coccinula quatuordecimpustulata© Christoph Benisch

Oenopia lyncea
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Oenopia lyncea© Christoph Benisch

Oenopia conglobata
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Oenopia conglobata© Volkmar Wagner
Oenopia conglobata© Eugen Dietz
Oenopia conglobata© Arp Kruithof
Oenopia conglobata© Arp Kruithof
Oenopia conglobata© Christoph Benisch
Oenopia conglobata© Christoph Benisch
Oenopia conglobata© Klaus-Uwe Gnaß
Oenopia conglobata© Marion Friedrich

Oenopia impustulata
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Oenopia impustulata© Christoph Benisch

Harmonia quadripunctata
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Harmonia quadripunctata© Christoph Benisch
Harmonia quadripunctata© Christoph Benisch
Harmonia quadripunctata© Frank Dickert
Harmonia quadripunctata© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia quadripunctata© Thijs de Graaf
Harmonia quadripunctata© Gerd Koppe

Harmonia axyridis
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Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© Jürgen Eckwert
Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© René Köhler
Harmonia axyridis© Manfred Kunz
Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© Klaus-Uwe Gnaß
Harmonia axyridis© Ingrid Altmann
Harmonia axyridis© Maik Hausotte
Harmonia axyridis© René Köhler
Harmonia axyridis© Christoph Benisch
Harmonia axyridis© Christoph Benisch
Harmonia axyridis© Christoph Benisch
Harmonia axyridis© Eugen Dietz
Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© René Köhler
Harmonia axyridis© Christoph Benisch
Harmonia axyridis© Maik Hausotte
Harmonia axyridis© Dennis Rupprecht
Harmonia axyridis© Kirsten Eta
Harmonia axyridis© Christoph Benisch
Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© Klaus-Uwe Gnaß
Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© Christoph Benisch
Harmonia axyridis© Eugen Dietz
Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© Jörg Pageler
Harmonia axyridis© Christoph Benisch
Harmonia axyridis© Christoph Benisch
Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© René Köhler
Harmonia axyridis© Bernard Fransen
Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© Arp Kruithof
Harmonia axyridis© Sigurd Rank
Harmonia axyridis© Gerrian Tacoma
Harmonia axyridis© C. Schmitt-Riegraf

Myrrha octodecimguttata
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Myrrha octodecimguttata© Christoph Benisch

Sospita vigintiguttata
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Sospita vigintiguttata© Christoph Benisch
Sospita vigintiguttata© Ingrid Altmann
Sospita vigintiguttata© Karsten Grabow

Calvia decemguttata
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Calvia decemguttata© Christoph Benisch
Calvia decemguttata© Ingrid Altmann

Calvia quatuordecimguttata
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Calvia quatuordecimguttata© Christoph Benisch
Calvia quatuordecimguttata© Hedy Jansen
Calvia quatuordecimguttata© Kirsten Eta
Calvia quatuordecimguttata© Kirsten Eta
Calvia quatuordecimguttata© Christoph Bausch

Propylea quatuordecimpunctata
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Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Christoph Benisch
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Hedy Jansen
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Hedy Jansen
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Jörg Pageler
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Hedy Jansen
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Christoph Benisch
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Lennart Bendixen
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Hedy Jansen
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Hedy Jansen
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Jörg Pageler
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Arp Kruithof
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Arp Kruithof
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© René Köhler
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Jürgen Peters
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Klaus Nowak
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Ingrid Altmann
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Christoph Benisch
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata© Kirsten Eta

Myzia oblongoguttata
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Myzia oblongoguttata© Christoph Benisch
Myzia oblongoguttata© Angie Opitz

Anatis ocellata
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Anatis ocellata© Christoph Benisch
Anatis ocellata© René Köhler
Anatis ocellata© René Köhler
Anatis ocellata© Arp Kruithof
Anatis ocellata© Arp Kruithof
Anatis ocellata© Ingrid Altmann
Anatis ocellata© René Köhler
Anatis ocellata© Ingrid Altmann
Anatis ocellata© Volkmar Wagner
Anatis ocellata© Marek Kozlowski
Anatis ocellata© Dieter Gschwend

Halyzia sedecimguttata
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Halyzia sedecimguttata© Christoph Benisch
Halyzia sedecimguttata© Jörg Pageler
Halyzia sedecimguttata© Arp Kruithof

Vibidia duodecimguttata
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Vibidia duodecimguttata© Christoph Benisch

Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata
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Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata© Christoph Benisch
Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata© Arp Kruithof
Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata© Hedy Jansen
Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata© Thijs de Graaf
Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata© Corinna Reetz


4.   Literature


  1. Zur Analyse des Polymorphismus bei Adalia bipunctata L.
    N. W. Timofeeff-Ressovsky, Biol. Zbl. 1940, 60 (3-4), 130-137.
  2. Mosaic dominance in the inheritance of color patterns in the lady-bird beetle Harmonia axyridis
    C. C. Tan, Genetics 1946, 31, 195-210. (Externer Link zum Dokument PDF Symbol)
  3. Is polymorphism in two-spot ladybird an example of non-industrial melanism?
    B. R. Benahm, D. Lonsdale, J. Muggleton, Nature 1974, 249, 179-180.
  4. Melanism in Adalia bipunctata L. (Col., Coccinellidae) and its Relationship to Atmospheric Pollution
    J. Muggleton, D. Lonsdale, B. R. Benham, The Journal of Applied Ecology 1975, 12 (2), 451-464.
  5. Polymorphism in the Two-Spot Ladybird Adalia bipunctata in Western Norway
    S.-A. Bengtson, R. Hagen, Oikos 1975, 26 (3), 328-331.
  6. On polymorphism in elytral coloration pattern in Coelophora quadrivittata (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae)
    J. Chazeau, Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 1980, 27 (2), 194-198. (Externer Link zum Dokument PDF Symbol)
  7. Ecological Studies on the Polymorphic Ladybird Adalia bipunctata in the Netherlands. II. Population Dynamics, Differential Timing of Reproduction and Thermal Melanism
    P. Brakefield, The Journal of Animal Ecology 1984, 53 (3), 775-790. (Externer Link zum Dokument PDF Symbol)
  8. Selection along Clines in the Ladybird Adalia bipunctata in the Netherlands: A general mating Advantage to Melanics and its Consequences
    P. Brakefield, Heredity 1984, 53 (1), 37-49. (Externer Link zum Dokument PDF Symbol)
  9. Polymorphic Mullerian mimicry and interactions with thermal melanism in ladybirds and a soldier beetle: a hypothesis
    P. Brakefield, Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 1985, 26, 243-267.
  10. Differential winter mortality and seasonal selection in the polymorphic ladybird Adalia bipunctata (L) in the Netherlands
    P. Brakefield, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 1985, 24 (2), 189-206. (Externer Link zum Dokument PDF Symbol [ab. S. 45])
  11. Why big species of ladybird beetles are not melanic?
    L. A. Stewart, F. G. Dixon, Funct. Ecol. 1989, 3, 165-171.
  12. Seasonal variation in elytral colour polymorphism in Harmonia axyridis (the ladybird beetle): the role of non-random mating
    N. Osawa, T. Nishida, Heredity 1992, 69, 297-307.
  13. Differences in thermal balance, body temperature and activity between non-melanic and melanic two-spot ladybird beetles (Adalia bipunctata) under controlled conditions
    P. Jong, S. Gussekloo, P. Brakefield, J. Exp. Biol. 1996, 199 (12), 2655-2666. (Externer Link zum Dokument PDF Symbol)
  14. Does thermal melanism maintain melanic polymorphism in the two-spot ladybird, Adalia bipunctata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)?
    M. Majerus, I. Zakharov, Zh. Obshch. Biol. 2000, 61 (4), 381-392.
  15. Temporal stability of morph frequency in central European populations of Adalia bipunctata and A. decempunctata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)
    A. Honek, Z. Martiková, S. Pekár, European Journal of Entomology 2005, 102 (3), 437-442.


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