Red-spot Lady Beetle

lady beetles, Coccinellidae, observed on Mistletoe near Eldoret, Kenya. Photo © by Michael Plagens

Gregarious lady beetles observed near Eldoret, Kenya, December 2013. Length is about 5mm and they are sitting on foliage of Mistletoe (Viscum sp.).

This species, like many lady beetle species, is contrastingly marked with bright red or yellow with black. Typically this is a sign that the owner has a strong defense such as a sting, a bite or in this case a potent chemical that would deter an insectivore like a bird. This color pattern is called aposematism and is often accompanied by gregariousness. By sticking together the numbers gain safety: If a bird plucks one and gets a nasty chemical in its mouth it won't quickly repeat the mistake with the remaining beetles.

Coccinellidae -- Lady Bird Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens. Page created 12 March 2014