Psyllobora vigintimaculata (Say, 1824)EditArthropods (Arthropoda)----Insects (Insecta)----Beetles (Coleoptera)----Polyphaga----Cucujoidea ----Ladybirds (Coccinellidae)----Coccinellinae-----Psyllobora----P. vigintimaculata
Ladybirds seem to like variation, just to confuse us. The Twenty-spotted ladybird is no exception, the different spots and colours fool some into thinking it is a different species or a very similar species in its genus. The background colour of these ladybirds is normally pale yellow, but can have tints of orange; the spots are normally always fused in a way, but sometimes one or two spots are fused and sometimes all the spots are fused, or something inbetween. There are several similar Psyllobora species ladybirds in North America, but Alberta only has one species which is this one. Larvae are small and white, and eventually turn greyer.
This ladybird does not feed on aphids like its larger cousins, like most tiny ladybirds that are not classified as "Micro ladybirds", this one feeds on microscopic fungi (makes you think if the ladybird can actually see what it is eating) such as mildew on leaf surfaces. They appear in spring and can be seen under and on top of leaves. This ladybird is very annoying to capture/ photograph; they are very fast and if you disturb them they drop off the plant and fall in the grass or, sometimes, fly away. They also seem to prefer shade, and any photographer knows what dark + tiny subject + fast-moving equals (blur can be difficult to prevent sometimes, unless you are lucky to find one resting or in the sunlight). Species is sometimes known as the Wee-tiny ladybird.