Stunning image captures a loveliness of orange ladybirds huddled together in East Lothian

A five-year-old boy has managed to capture a beautiful but rare sight of a group of orange ladybirds clustered together under a rock this winter.

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 4:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th February 2021, 4:46 pm
Magnus Fleetwood, aged 5, took a picture of this loveliness of ladybirds which he spotted in East Lothian picture: Magnus Fleetwood

Magnus Fleetwood took a photograph of the insect bloom while he was out on a walk with his family in the woods around Aberlady, East Lothian.

The image was taken in mid-February and it is believed the ladybirds, which are rarely spotted in the winter months, were forced out of where they were hibernating due to the heavy snowfall this year.

A spokesman from East Lothian Council Countryside Rangers said: “Ladybirds are generally tucked away hibernating during winter.

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"This species hibernates among leaf litter so it’s possible, albeit not certain, they were flushed out by the snow and took temporary refuge under this stone sculpture.”

The orange ladybird – Halyzia sedecimguttata – has up to 16 cream spots on its wing cases and it can grow up to 5mm.

According to UK conservation charity the Woodland Trust, the best time to spot the insects is between April and October in broadleaf woodland where they will likely be on the leaves of their favourite trees: ash and sycamore.

It is a native species and while they are common to see in England, sightings of them are more rare in Scotland.

The lifecycle of a ladybird consists of four phases: the egg; the larval stage, during which the larva undergoes a series of moults; the pupa, where it develops into an adult; and the adult phase, during which the female lays eggs in batches of up to 40.

The collective noun for ladybirds is a loveliness or a bloom.

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