Variability of elytral color patterns in Coccinellidae


Text © Christoph Benisch, 2008–2020, 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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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
Henosepilachna argus1
Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata8
Chilocorus bipustulatus3
Chilocorus renipustulatus2
Exochomus quadripustulatus4
Exochomus nigromaculatus1
Aphidecta obliterata9
Hippodamia tredecimpunctata3
Hippodamia variegata19
Hippodamia notata4
Hippodamia undecimnotata3
Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata4
Tytthaspis sedecimpunctata5
Adalia conglomerata4
Adalia decempunctata47
Adalia bipunctata16
Coccinella hieroglyphica4
Coccinella septempunctata11
Coccinella magnifica1
Coccinella quinquepunctata4
Coccinella undecimpunctata4
Coccinula quatuordecimpustulata2
Oenopia lyncea2
Oenopia conglobata10
Oenopia impustulata1
Harmonia quadripunctata12
Harmonia axyridis84
Myrrha octodecimguttata2
Sospita vigintiguttata4
Calvia decemguttata4
Calvia quatuordecimguttata5
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata30
Myzia oblongoguttata2
Anatis ocellata18
Halyzia sedecimguttata6
Vibidia duodecimguttata1
Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata8


3.   Gallery


Henosepilachna argus (Fourcr., 1762)
© Andreas Müller

Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata (L., 1758)
© Ingrid Altmann
© Ingrid Altmann
© Christoph Benisch
© Ingrid Altmann
© Ingrid Altmann
© Ingrid Altmann
© Tobias Perlick
© Johan Verstraeten

Chilocorus bipustulatus (L., 1758)
© Christoph Benisch
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf

Chilocorus renipustulatus (Scriba, 1850)
© Christoph Benisch
© René Köhler

Exochomus quadripustulatus (L., 1758)
© Arp Kruithof
© Christoph Benisch
© Christoph Benisch
© René Köhler

Exochomus nigromaculatus (Goeze, 1777)
© Christoph Benisch

Aphidecta obliterata (L., 1758)
© Ingrid Altmann
© René Köhler
© Christoph Benisch
© Christoph Benisch
© Hedy Jansen
© Ingrid Altmann
© Christoph Benisch
© Peter Holzberger
© Arp Kruithof

Hippodamia tredecimpunctata (L., 1758)
© Christoph Benisch
© Lennart Bendixen
© Christoph Benisch

Hippodamia variegata (Goeze, 1777)
© Christoph Benisch
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Andreas Müller
© René Köhler
© Arp Kruithof
© Kirsten Eta
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Christoph Benisch
© Helga Becker
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Christoph Benisch
© Arp Kruithof
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Kirsten Eta
© Helga Becker
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Kevin Gurcel
© Tobias Perlick
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf

Hippodamia notata (Laich., 1781)
© Christoph Benisch
© Ingrid Altmann
© Christoph Benisch
© Ingrid Altmann

Hippodamia undecimnotata (Schneid., 1792)
© Christoph Benisch
© René Köhler
© René Köhler

Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata (L., 1758)
© Silke Lucke
© Christoph Benisch
© Ingrid Altmann
© Ingrid Altmann

Tytthaspis sedecimpunctata (L., 1761)
© Christoph Benisch
© Hedy Jansen
© Ingrid Altmann
© Lennart Bendixen
© Ingrid Altmann

Adalia conglomerata (L., 1758)
© Christoph Benisch
© Eugen Dietz
© Christoph Benisch
© Christoph Benisch

Adalia decempunctata (L., 1758)
© Ingrid Altmann
© Jürgen Peters
© Ingrid Altmann
© René Köhler
© Christoph Benisch
© René Köhler
© Jürgen Peters
© Arp Kruithof
© René Köhler
© Janet Rowley
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© B. Wichelmann-Werth
© Christoph Benisch
© Wolfgang Langer
© Thorsten Pietsch
© Manfred Zapf
© René Köhler
© Ingrid Altmann
© Ingrid Altmann
© Ingrid Altmann
© F. Welter-Schultes
© Jürgen Eckwert
© René Köhler
© Thorsten Pietsch
© René Köhler
© René Köhler
© Jörg Pageler
© Jürgen Peters
© Thorsten Pietsch
© René Köhler
© Jörg Pageler
© Christoph Benisch
© Ingrid Altmann
© Christoph Benisch
© Ingrid Altmann
© Claudia Landman
© Ulrich Sach
© Marek Swadzba
© Christoph Benisch
© Ingrid Altmann
© Volkmar Wagner
© Ingrid Altmann
© Ulrich Sach
© Volkmar Wagner
© Ingrid Altmann
© Antje Weiß
© Klaus Dühr

Adalia bipunctata (L., 1758)
© Christoph Benisch
© René Köhler
© Arp Kruithof
© Karola Winzer
© Tobias Perlick
© Arp Kruithof
© Christoph Benisch
© Ingrid Altmann
© Tobias Perlick
© Volkmar Wagner
© Marek Kozlowski
© Ingrid Altmann
© Christoph Benisch
© Clemens Broich
© G. Schulemann-Maier
© Alexandru Pintilioaie

Coccinella hieroglyphica L., 1758
© Christoph Benisch
© Ingrid Altmann
© Dick Belgers
© Christine Neumann

Coccinella septempunctata L., 1758
© Christoph Benisch
© Jürgen Peters
© René Köhler
© Jürgen Peters
© Ingrid Altmann
© Janet Rowley
© Corinna Reetz
© Ingrid Altmann
© Dieter Gschwend
© Ulrike Buschewski
© Mike Higgott

Coccinella magnifica Redt., 1843
© Christoph Benisch

Coccinella quinquepunctata L., 1758
© Christoph Benisch
© Arp Kruithof
© Arp Kruithof
© Daniel Rolke

Coccinella undecimpunctata L., 1758
© Christoph Benisch
© Dick Belgers
© Lennart Bendixen
© Lennart Bendixen

Coccinula quatuordecimpustulata (L., 1758)
© Christoph Benisch
© Ingrid Langer

Oenopia lyncea (Ol., 1808)
© Christoph Benisch
© Manfred Zapf

Oenopia conglobata (L., 1758)
© Volkmar Wagner
© Eugen Dietz
© Arp Kruithof
© Arp Kruithof
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Christoph Benisch
© Christoph Benisch
© Klaus-Uwe Gnaß
© Marion Friedrich
© Fabian Bötzl

Oenopia impustulata (L., 1767)
© Christoph Benisch

Harmonia quadripunctata (Pont., 1763)
© Christoph Benisch
© Karola Winzer
© Christoph Benisch
© Frank Dickert
© Ingrid Altmann
© Tobias Perlick
© Arp Kruithof
© Thijs de Graaf
© Tobias Perlick
© Gerd Koppe
© Adrian Bothe
© Axel Schallwich

Harmonia axyridis Pall., 1773
© Jürgen Eckwert
© Arp Kruithof
© Arp Kruithof
© René Köhler
© René Köhler
© Tobias Perlick
© Arp Kruithof
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Klaus-Uwe Gnaß
© Ingrid Altmann
© Maik Hausotte
© Christoph Benisch
© René Köhler
© Tobias Perlick
© Günther Kainz
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Christoph Benisch
© Christoph Benisch
© René Köhler
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Günther Kainz
© Claus-Peter Troch
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Claus-Peter Troch
© Eugen Dietz
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Manfred Kunz
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Arp Kruithof
© Tobias Perlick
© René Köhler
© Christoph Benisch
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Maik Hausotte
© Dennis Rupprecht
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Kirsten Eta
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Christoph Benisch
© Arp Kruithof
© Claus-Peter Troch
© Anja Linke
© Siglinde Heinz
© Arp Kruithof
© Claus-Peter Troch
© Klaus-Uwe Gnaß
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Arp Kruithof
© Arp Kruithof
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Christoph Benisch
© Eugen Dietz
© Beatrice Jeschke
© Klaus Dühr
© Karola Winzer
© Arp Kruithof
© Jörg Pageler
© Christoph Benisch
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Christoph Benisch
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Tobias Perlick
© Arp Kruithof
© Arp Kruithof
© Judith König
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© René Köhler
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Bernard Fransen
© Claudia Landman
© Arp Kruithof
© Arp Kruithof
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Arp Kruithof
© Jürgen Eckwert
© Arp Kruithof
© Arp Kruithof
© Robert Keul
© Jens Milner
© Claus-Peter Troch
© Sigurd Rank
© Gerrian Tacoma
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf

Myrrha octodecimguttata (L., 1758)
© Christoph Benisch
© Corinna Reetz

Sospita vigintiguttata (L., 1758)
© Christoph Benisch
© Manfred Zapf
© Ingrid Altmann
© Karsten Grabow

Calvia decemguttata (L., 1767)
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Christoph Benisch
© Ingrid Altmann
© Tilmann Adler

Calvia quatuordecimguttata (L., 1758)
© Christoph Benisch
© Hedy Jansen
© Kirsten Eta
© Kirsten Eta
© Christoph Bausch

Propylea quatuordecimpunctata (L., 1758)
© Christoph Benisch
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Hedy Jansen
© Hedy Jansen
© Jörg Pageler
© Hedy Jansen
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Ingrid Altmann
© Christoph Benisch
© Lennart Bendixen
© Hedy Jansen
© Kirsten Eta
© Hedy Jansen
© Jörg Pageler
© Ingrid Altmann
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Ingrid Altmann
© Arp Kruithof
© Arp Kruithof
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© René Köhler
© Jürgen Peters
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Klaus Nowak
© Günther Pitschi
© Ingrid Altmann
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Axel Schallwich
© Christoph Benisch
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf

Myzia oblongoguttata (L., 1758)
© Christoph Benisch
© Angie Opitz

Anatis ocellata (L., 1758)
© Christoph Benisch
© René Köhler
© René Köhler
© Christine Neumann
© Arp Kruithof
© Jochen Schwarz
© Jochen Schwarz
© Frank Schnerrer
© Arp Kruithof
© Ingrid Altmann
© René Köhler
© Ingrid Altmann
© Ingrid Altmann
© Jochen Schwarz
© Volkmar Wagner
© Marek Kozlowski
© Dieter Gschwend
© Karin Johnson

Halyzia sedecimguttata (L., 1758)
© Christoph Benisch
© Jörg Pageler
© René Köhler
© Arp Kruithof
© René Köhler
© René Köhler

Vibidia duodecimguttata (Poda, 1761)
© Christoph Benisch

Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata (L., 1758)
© Christoph Benisch
© Arp Kruithof
© C. Schmitt-Riegraf
© Hedy Jansen
© Thijs de Graaf
© Ingrid Altmann
© Corinna Reetz
© Dmitry Ivanov


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. (External link to the document 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. (External link to the document 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. (External link to the document 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. (External link to the document 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. (External link to the document PDF Symbol [p. 45 et sqq.])
  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. (External link to the document PDF Symbol)
  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. (External link to the document 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. (External link to the document PDF Symbol)
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