Four-spot Lady Beetle

lady beetles, Coccinellidae, observed in Gatamaiyo Forest, Gilgil, Kenya. Photo © by Michael Plagens

Observed on roadside vegetation, Gatamaiyo Forest, Nakuru County, Kenya, October 2016.

This species, like many lady beetle species, is contrastingly marked with bright orange on shiny 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

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Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens. Page created 22 February 2017