Shropshire residents are being encouraged to look out for any unusual looking ladybirds, following recent sightings of the Harlequin Ladybird in the county.
The Harlequin Ladybird, first spotted in this country three years ago, is a large ladybird from East Asia which is used as a biological control for greenfly in Europe.
Although most ladybirds are known as a friend of the gardener, the Harlequin is larger than most British species and not only competes for their food but also eats other ladybirds, butterfly eggs, caterpillars and even soft fruit such as pears and grapes.
This new type of ladybird is about 7mm long and can be entirely black, red or yellow and has a varied number of spots.
Dan Wrench, Shropshire County Council’s Biodiversity Officer, said: “We welcome reports of sightings, particularly with a photo, as this will help us track the progress of this invader. Camera phones are often good enough for a positive identification.”