Harmonia axyridis (Pallas, 1773)EditArthropods (Arthropoda)----Insects (Insecta)-----Beetles (Coleoptera)-----Polyphaga-----Cucujoidea-----Ladybirds (Coccinellidae)-----Coccinellinae-----Coccinellini----Harmonia----H. axyridis
The Harlequin ladybird as it is called in Europe has many names; the Halloween ladybird (most frequently used in Alberta), the Multi-coloured Asian ladybird (most frequently used world-wide) and the Variable invader. In Alberta the Melanic forms are rare. The common forms are all named; the typical red/orange and black spotted specimens are form/ f. succinea, the black ones with two spots are f. conspicua, the black ones with four spots are f. spectabilis and the black ones with 10+ red spots are form axyridis (this form is extremely rare, as far as I know it has not yet been encountered in North America) and another one called f. equicolor which I have no clue to what it looks like.
These ladybirds become ferocious when aphids and other soft-bodied insects run out, then they start feeding on other native ladybirds, caterpillars and other beneficial insects, this is a problem in Europe where it is wiping out the commonest native species because of its large numbers and greed for aphids. Another characteristic trait is their "pinch", just pick one up and as soon as it finds no aphids on your hand it starts biting you. In winter they congregate in corners, such as where walls meet ceiling and under window sills; it is not uncommon to find a cluster in your bedroom cupboard. The larvae and pupa are easy to identify from their distinctive colouring.All current photos are from Britain.