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Key for the identification of the British Coccinellidae

Some of the species of ladybirds are very common in Britain and easily recognised.  There are a number of keys available that identify the common species by colour patterns alone and these should be referred to for beginners.  For example there is a one page pdf available at http://www.ladybird-survey.org/species_list.aspx.  One problem is that many species are very variable in their colour and spot patterns and many exist in coloured and melanic (black) forms.  The key below relies less on colour pattern and should allow a ladybird to be identified to subfamily and then to genus and species.  This then catches all species but of necessity uses certain features of the underside.  I agree for this reason it is not easy to use but it is intended for the identification of the rarer species.  This is supposed to be a working document so if you have any suggestions for improvement or find errors or indeed have some success I would love feedback by field testers.  I will then amend the document accordingly.

Mike Hackston,
11 May 2020, 08:15