29 February 2012


Whilst in the throes of cooking dinner last night (Sticky Chinese Chicken) I glanced up and saw a ladybird stood bemused on a cupboard door. She appeared to be blinking sleepy eyes, wondering where the hell she was. She stayed very still until I picked up a camera, then suddenly conscious of her 'just out of bed' dishevelment quickly made for the dark of the cupboard interior. But I tricked her onto an envelope and papped her.

Today I looked at some Ladybird identification sites and am disappointed and a little shocked to find she may be a Harlequin, an invasive non-native species that only arrived in 2004 and is spreading rapidly north and west.  Apparently they are threatening our cute little native ladybirds; just as the grey squirrels dominate our red squirrels.  After I took her photo I put her outside, but I wonder if I did the right thing.  Should I have squished her?

I've reported her to the Harlequin Ladybird Survey but it appears the site was last updated in 2010, so I'm not sure anyone will notice.

Of course, her ladyship's appearance in my kitchen is really a message from Mother Nature:  a 'wildlife' garden must welcome all visitors whether native or not.

Image from Ladybird Spotter

See update on harlequins in my post 'Squish 'em!'