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Aphid Predator (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)

Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata

Water ladybird

On this page: Identification Biological control & Distribution

Identification

Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata is about 3.5-5 mm in body length, distinctly elongate and flattened in shape. The elytra are buff or beige for most of the year (see first picture below), but from April-June they adopt a reddish hue (see second picture below). They bear fifteen to twenty-one black spots, most commonly nineteen spots as in the pictured specimens. The pronotum is buff or beige with six black spots, rounded at the sides with the greatest width in the middle. The legs of Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata are pale brown.

First two images above copyright Gilles San Martin under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licenses.
Third image above copyright Kim Windmolders under a Creative Commons license.

The fourth instar larva of Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata (see third picture above) has the thoracic region cream or white with dark patches. The abdomen is pale grey with alternating rows of black and white tubercles running longitudinally, and fine hairs projecting from the tubercles.

Biological control & Distribution

Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata is found in wetlands on marsh- and water-plants such as reeds (Phragmites) and sedges (Carex species) where it contributes to the natural biological control of various waterside aphids, such as Hyalopterus pruni and Rhopalosiphum nymphaeae. Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata doubtless itself falls prey to various avian predators, like the reed warbler, which also feed on the waterside aphids. The water ladybird is found throughout the West Palaearctic, from Western Europe to Middle Asia.

Acknowledgements

For coccinellid identification we have used Hackston and UK Beetle Recording for the key characteristics, together with the latest Wikipediaaccount for each species. For aphids we have made provisional identifications from photos of living specimens, along with host plant identity using the keys and species accounts of Blackman & Eastop (1994) and Blackman & Eastop (2006) supplemented with Blackman (1974), Stroyan (1977), Stroyan (1984), Blackman & Eastop (1984), Heie (1980-1995), Dixon & Thieme (2007) and Blackman (2010). We fully acknowledge these authors as the source for the (summarized) taxonomic information we have presented. Any errors in identification or information are ours alone, and we would be very grateful for any corrections. For assistance on the terms used for aphid morphology we suggest the figure provided by Blackman & Eastop (2006).

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