Calvia quatuordecimguttata

Geographic Range

Calvia quatuordecimguttata is native to northern North America, northern Europe, and western and central Asia. In North America, this range extends from northern California to Alaska on the west coast and from New Jersey to northern Canada on the east coast. Calvia quatuordecimguttata is the only North American representative of its genus. (Gordon, 1985; Lamana and Miller, 1995)


Calvia quatuordecimguttata is found in forests of deciduous trees and shrubs. This species also lives amongst flowering plants that are present in dry grassland. It can also be found on agricultural land, living on crops. (Gordon, 1985; Taylor and Francis, 1966)

Physical Description

Calvia quatuordecimguttata, which is commonly referred to as the cream-spotted lady beetle, is polymorphic and shows great variety in coloration and elytral patterns. In North America, C. quatuordecimguttata was documented to have three different elytral patterns: black with 14 white spots, black with 2 or 4 red spots, and orange with 12 black spots. Other documented forms are maroon-brown in color. C. quatuordecimguttata ranges in length from 3.50 to 5.50 mm and it is oval in form and weakly convex. The intercoxal process of the prosternum is smooth and slightly convex with a weak lateral ridge that extends anteriorly as far as the anterior margin of the coxa. C. quatuordecimguttata has 2 spurs on the apex of the middle and hind tibia. (Eaton and Kaufman, 2007; Gordon, 1985; Lamana and Miller, 1995)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Range length
    3.5 to 5.5 mm
    0.14 to 0.22 in


Eggs are laid in the early spring by adults that have overwintered. After larvae emerge and then pupate, like other Coccinellidae, adults live for a few weeks in the summer until the weather cools. The final generation overwinters as diapause occurs. Adults of C. quatuordecimguttata cannot mate and reproduce until after emerging from diapause in the spring. Development of C. quatuordecimguttata is temperature dependent, with beetles that develop at lower temperatures reaching a greater size. The time of development from egg to adult is also temperature dependent, taking about 14 days at 30 degrees Celsius, while taking up to 115 days at lower temperatures (10 degrees Celsius). (Gordon, 1985; Kalushkov and Hodek, 2001; Lamana and Miller, 1995; Webberley, et al., 2004)


There is little to no information available on this topic for Calvia quatuordecimguttata. It is known that both male and female cream-spotted lady beetles can have multiple mates. (Eaton and Kaufman, 2007)

There is little to no information available on this topic for Calvia quatuordecimguttata.

There is no parental involvement besides the provisioning of eggs. Additionally, the eggs of C. quatuordecimguttata are coated with a compound that protects the eggs from predatory attacks by Harmonia axyridis. (Ware, et al., 2008)

  • Parental Investment
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female


Eggs of C. quatuordecimguttata are laid in spring, as early as March. The time of development from egg to adult depends on temperature, taking about 14 days at warmer temperatures, while taking up to 115 days at lower temperatures. Adults live for an extended period after that through summer (several more weeks or months), until temperatures cool in the fall and adults enter diapause, emerging again the following spring. (Gordon, 1985; Lamana and Miller, 1995)


There is little information available on this topic for Calvia quatuordecimguttata. The cream-spotted lady beetle can fly, and is mainly a solitary species.

Communication and Perception

There is no information available on this topic for Calvia quatuordecimguttata, but other lady beetles are known to use visual and chemical cues for location of prey and mates.

Food Habits

Calvia quatuordecimguttata are insectivores and thrive on psyllids and aphids. Feeding on psyllids seems to promote faster larval development, especially Cacopsylla mali. Six Aphididae species have been identified as essential food for C. quatuordecimguttata: Chaitophorus tremulae, Cavariella konoi, Aphis farinosa, Eucalipterus tiliae, Euceraphis betulae, and Macrosiphoniella artemisiae. (Gordon, 1985; Kalushkov and Hodek, 2001)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects


Intraspecific and interspecific predation of the eggs of Calvia quatuordecimguttata is common. Harmonia axyridis is an invasive coccinellid that is known to eat the eggs of many other coccinellids. Calvia quatuordecimguttata is well protected against the attack of Harmonia axyridis due to a compound that coats the outer surface of its eggs. The effect of this compound may be due to the abundance of hydrocarbons on the coating of the egg as well as the presence of alkenes. There are also patches of a red substance that coat the eggs, which is believed to be a type of acid. As a coccinellid, C. quatuordecimguttata can likely reflex bleed, emitting toxins from joints in the exoskeleton when threatened. The different colorations and elytral patterns function as a warning sign to predators. (Gordon, 1985; Ware, et al., 2008)

Ecosystem Roles

Calvia quatuordecimguttata is a significant predator of many species of aphids and psyllids, including Chaitophorus tremulae, Cavariella konoi, Aphis farinosa, Eucalipterus tiliae, Euceraphis betulae, and Macrosiphoniella artemisiae. It can be prey to other species of Coccinellidae, including Harmonia axyridis. C. quatuordecimguttata can also serve as host to Coccipolipus hippodamiae, a sexually transmitted mite. (Kalushkov and Hodek, 2001; Webberley, et al., 2004)

Commensal/Parasitic Species
  • Coccipolipus hippodamiae

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

There is little information available on this topic for Calvia quatuordecimguttata, but it is likely that this species is beneficial for controlling aphid populations on crops. In Europe, C. quatuordecimguttata can also control psyllid populations on crops. (Kalushkov and Hodek, 2001; Semyanov, 1996)

  • Positive Impacts
  • controls pest population

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse affects of Calvia quatuordecimguttata on humans.

Conservation Status

There is no special conservation status for Calvia quatuordecimguttata.


Deeana Ijaz (author), University of Michigan Biological Station, Angela Miner (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff, Brian Scholtens (editor), University of Michigan Biological Station.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

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living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

World Map


living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.


having coloration that serves a protective function for the animal, usually used to refer to animals with colors that warn predators of their toxicity. For example: animals with bright red or yellow coloration are often toxic or distasteful.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


a period of time when growth or development is suspended in insects and other invertebrates, it can usually only be ended the appropriate environmental stimulus.


animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


union of egg and spermatozoan


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.


the state that some animals enter during winter in which normal physiological processes are significantly reduced, thus lowering the animal's energy requirements. The act or condition of passing winter in a torpid or resting state, typically involving the abandonment of homoiothermy in mammals.


a distribution that more or less circles the Arctic, so occurring in both the Nearctic and Palearctic biogeographic regions.

World Map

Found in northern North America and northern Europe or Asia.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body


A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.


an animal which has a substance capable of killing, injuring, or impairing other animals through its chemical action (for example, the skin of poison dart frogs).


the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.


"many forms." A species is polymorphic if its individuals can be divided into two or more easily recognized groups, based on structure, color, or other similar characteristics. The term only applies when the distinct groups can be found in the same area; graded or clinal variation throughout the range of a species (e.g. a north-to-south decrease in size) is not polymorphism. Polymorphic characteristics may be inherited because the differences have a genetic basis, or they may be the result of environmental influences. We do not consider sexual differences (i.e. sexual dimorphism), seasonal changes (e.g. change in fur color), or age-related changes to be polymorphic. Polymorphism in a local population can be an adaptation to prevent density-dependent predation, where predators preferentially prey on the most common morph.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


lives alone


uses touch to communicate


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


Living on the ground.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


uses sight to communicate


Eaton, E., K. Kaufman. 2007. Kaufman field guide to insects. Boston, Massachusettes: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Gordon, R. 1985. The Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) of America north of Mexico. Journal of the New York Entomological Society, 93: 1-912.

Kalushkov, P., I. Hodek. 2001. New essential aphid prey for Anatis ocellata and Calvia quatuordecimguttata. Biocontrol Science and Technology, 11: 35-39.

Lamana, M., J. Miller. 1995. Temperature-Dependent Development in a Polymorphic Lady Beetle, Calvia quatuordecimguttata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 88/6: 785-790.

Semyanov, V. 1996. Lady beetles (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae) of Leningrad region orchards (fauna, biology and their role in pest population dynamics). IOBC/WPRS and ISHS International Conference on Integrated Fruit Production, 422: 208-211.

Taylor, , Francis. 1966. The pattern of animal communities. Great Britain: Menthuen and Co Ltd, II New Fetter Lane, London EC4.

Ware, R., F. Ramon-Portugal, A. Magro, C. Duncamp, J. Hemptinne, M. Majerus. 2008. Chemical protection of Calvia quatuordecimguttata eggs against intraguild predation by the invasive Harmonia axyridis. Biological Control, 53: 189-200.

Webberley, K., G. Hurst, R. Husband, J. Schulenburg, J. Sloggett, V. Isham, J. Buszko, M. Majerus. 2004. Host reproduction and a sexually transmitted disease: Causes and consequences of Coccipolipus hippodamiae distribution on coccinellid beetles. Journal of Animal Ecology, 73/1: 1-10.