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Variable Ladybird Beetle - Coelophora inaequalis

Variable Ladybird Beetle - Coelophora inaequalis
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA
July 4, 2004
Shot on a Hibiscus bush in company with C. sanguinea (1)

Coelophora inaequalis
I think this might be Coelophora inaequalis, the Variable Ladybird Beetle. This species was introduced to Florida, and is originally from Australia - see the comment on this page. There are pictures (from Australia) here and here. Despite the variability, some of the photos on the first of those pages look like dead ringers for this individual.

Variable Lady Beetle
Good sleuthing, Joel. On the multi-photo page you gave a link to, this image may be the best at showing all the features seen in Tony's shot. Coelophora inaequalis is the only species in its genus in North America ( I made a Guide page for it.

Thanks All!
This has been a interesting discussion. Florida is definitley a gateway for introduced species and I always wonder (as some of you had mentioned) what the long-term impact will be on the natural flora and fauna.

coccinella novemnotata ?
Does anyone know the nine spotted? It's the state insect of a couple of states, but we can't find much in the way of images. The Asian usually shows much more white than this image, so we're hoping it might be one of the natives.

I'm pretty sure this is not the Nine-spotted. I've also had trouble finding images of this species, but there are a couple at Cedar Creek, including the only image of a live individual I've been able to find. It basically looks like a Seven-spotted with two extra spots (surprisingly). See this article from the Xerces Society newsletter on the decline of this native species. It is currently listed as SH (historical occurence, not recorded recently but may still occur in suitable habitat) here in Ontario and according to the article has disappeared from most of the North-east. Does anybody have a photo of this species they haven't loaded? If not that might be a fun challenge for this coming summer.

I agree it looks odd for H. axyridis (although it probably could be that species). I will check my university's library later this week and see if I can come up with any alternatives.

9-spotted status
The official insect of four northeastern states (MA, NH, NY, OH) is the 9-spotted but the Xerces article says that no specimens have been collected in New York since 1970, and none in the northeast since 1992. In Ontario, the 9-spotted has not been recorded since 1982. And in eastern South Dakota, where the 9-spotted was once common, samples taken over a recent 13-year period found no individuals, and none have been collected since 1990.

I hope somebody finds one somewhere but the prospect doesn't look good.

Harmonia axyridis is highly variable, so it would not surprise me if this was just another color pattern. I would not rule out that possibility at any rate:-)

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