Ladybird (Southern) Cleobora mellyi
Species: C. mellyi
Binomial name: Cleobora mellyi
Synonym: Cleodora mellyi, Halyzia mellyi
Common names: Southern ladybird, Tasmanian ladybird, Coccinellid Beetle, Ladybird Beetle, Ladybug
Cleobora mellyi is an adventive ladybird species endemic to Tasmania and the southern states of mainland Australia. It was introduced to New Zealand in 1977 for the biological control of eucalypt tortoise beetle, Paropsis charybdis. It only survived in Marlborough. In 2006 and 2007, the ladybirds were again spread to other parts of New Zealand. It has now established in Northland and Bay of Plenty. It favours places with Eucalyptus and Acacia species that harbour abundant leaf feeding psyllids. Adults and larvae live in trees feeding on soft-bodied insects and their eggs.
Cleobora mellyi adults grow up to 7 millimetres long. The head, prothorax (first part of the middle body) and elytra (wing covers) are shiny yellow-orange with prominent zigzag black lines. The black pattern is variable and the background colour varies from yellow to orange-red. The legs and antennae are coloured yellow and black. The long dark larvae have three pairs of legs.
The adults overwinter, hiding under bark and similar places. In spring the female ladybirds lay clusters of yellow eggs near infestations of prey. A long, dark larva hatches from each egg. They have three pairs of legs. As the larva grows, it moults. There are four larval instars. The last larval stage is dark coloured with a distinctive pattern of yellow tubercles on the abdomen. The front of the head is tan coloured. When the fourth larval instar is fully grown, it attaches itself to a sheltered place on a plant and moults into a pupa. The black and yellow pupa is also distinctively coloured and has short abdominal ‘wings’.
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