Image for Our lady's birds

Our lady's birds

Duration: 05:33

Mike Majerus takes Bill Oddie looking for ladybirds. We’ve got some British ladybirds that are adapted specifically to Scots pine. All we should have to do is start looking on the lower branches both sides for ladybirds. They're not necessarily red with black spots. This one is black, with a tiny amount of red - a pine ladybird. The name ladybird derives from 'Our Lady’s Birds' - they’re named after the Virgin Mary. In old depictions of the Virgin Mary she was always in red. Blue is a contemporary thing. The seven black spots are for her seven joys and seven sorrows. So, they are Our Lady’s Birds. Pine ladybird is really quite a common species. Its Latin name is Exochomus quadripustulatus, but in the 1980s Mike got the joy of giving English names to all the British ladybirds. This is the eyed ladybird, our largest British species. And it really is well adapted to Scots pine and it eats the big brown aphids you get on them, which are a good meal. For a big ladybird you need a big aphid. This is the orange ladybird, which doesn’t eat aphids - it’s a vegetarian. In the gorse there are some 14-spot ladybirds. There are 46 British ladybirds in the family, but only 27 that you would actually recognise as ladybirds. Mike recites the 27: 2 spot, 5 spot, 10 spot, 14 spot, cream spot, cream streaked, kidney spot, 11 spot, 22 spot, 24 spot, 16 spot, 18 spot, water ladybird, which can actually swim, eyed ladybird, striped ladybird, 7 spot, scarce 7 spot, larch ladybird, Bryony ladybird, Adonis’s ladybird, 13 spot and finally the harlequin ladybird.

Available since: Thu 10 Jun 2010


Bill Oddie
Camera Operator
John Aitchison
Camera Operator
Robin Cox
Hugh Pearson
Mary Colwell
Executive Producer
Fiona Pitcher

This clip is from

Bill Oddie's How to Watch Wildlife Series 2, Kielder Forest

Kielder Forest in Northumberland has deer, red squirrels, wood ants and a large ladybird.

First broadcast: 31 Jan 2006

Image for Kielder Forest Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

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