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Brightly coloured and patterned, ladybirds are among some of our most beloved and familiar invertebrates. Firmly established as the gardeners' friend, they are perhaps the only group of insects to be viewed entirely positively by the general public.
RSPB Spotlight: Ladybirds focuses on the 26 species resident in the UK, from the common, but unusual Orange Ladybird, to the rarer – and aptly named – Scarce 7-spot Ladybird. Richard Comont considers the conservation challenges facing these iconic species, whose populations are now at risk thanks to the threat posed by one of their own, the invasive alien Harlequin Ladybird. The biology, lifestyle, natural history and cultural significance of this fascinating group of beetles is also examined.
Richard Comont is an ecologist and the winner of the 2016 Gilbert White Award for terrestrial and freshwater biological recording. He works as Science Manager for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, is part of the UK Ladybird Survey team and is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Worcester. Richard earned a PhD in zoology from the University of Oxford in 2014 for his work on the impacts of the Harlequin Ladybird on native ecosystems. He is the author of several books on ladybirds and bumblebees, and on the wildlife of the Malvern Hills.