A couple of weeks ago I was walking back from a local site when I spotted some ivy in flower. In September, Ivy Hedera helix is an important flower for many pollinating insects as it is one of the few sources of pollen and nectar around in autumn. I was looking for Ivy Bees, but I spotted out of the corner of my eye a red ‘ladybird’, but something didn’t look right. On close inspection I could see the shape was not right and I figured it must be a false ladybird beetle, a species I knew of, but had never seen in the flesh.
They are usually found around fungi, on which the adults and larvae feed. Adults can be found all year round and are usually nocturnal. What mine was doing on a Ivy flower in the middle of the day I’m not sure. Perhaps they also feed on pollen at times?
Interestingly this species has been shown to be an important dispersing the spores of wood inhabiting fungi, which means they play an important role in decomposition in a woodland ecosystem.
Just goes to show its always worth stopping at a cluster of Ivy flowers, you never know what will be there
Rannveig, M.J., Kauserud, H., Sverdrup-Thygesona, A., Markussen Bjorbækmob, M., Birkemoea, T., 2017, Wood-inhabiting insects can function as targeted vectors for decomposer fungi, Fungal Ecology, Vol 29, Pgs 76-84