DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
An aggregation of seven-spot ladybirds, Coccinella septem-punctata, on a fertile frond of Shuttlecock fern, Matteucia struthiopteris, photographed in November in Norfolk, UK. All UK species of ladybird overwinter as adults. In October they begin to aggregate into groups for overwintering. The 7 spot ladybird forms small aggregations of up to a dozen individuals, choosing sites such as the undersides of leaves or within hollow stems of plants. The resistance to cold in overwintering ladybirds varies with time, peaking in the middle of winter and declining as spring approaches. In prolonged cold winters, mortality may approach 90%.The picture shows a small aggregation of individuals in a perhaps unwisely exposed position; two days after this picture was taken, the insects had dispersed to a more favourable site.
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