Cheilomenes lunata (Lunate Lady Beetle)
Exochomus flavipes (Black Mealy Bug Predator)
Hippodamia variegata (Variegated Lady Beetle)
Harmonia axyridis (Harlequin Lady Beetle)
Ask any child to draw a beetle, and this is most probably what you will get. The beautiful Afrikaans name is “Lieweheersbesies” (Roughly translated as beetles from the dear Lord). We used to call them “Skilpadjies” which refer to the almost tortoise shape.
Coccinellids are mostly predators that feed on aphids and scale insects. A few are herbivores and can be detrimental to certain crops. Such is the Harlequin ladybird that is a world-wide invasive species who are known to feed on both animal and plant material.
Harlequins have a variety of colour variations. I found these on an Olea europaea africana (Wild olive or Olienhout in Afrikaans) tree where they were feeding on scale insects. They can be easily distinguished by the black M or W shape on the pronotrum.
Lady beetles should not be confused with beetles from the family Chrysomelidae.
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