I had no idea another alien had landed and is threatening life as we know it. Only three years or so late with this one then. Click through on the picture to discover how I finally caught up in the flickr comments, thanks in particular to the flickr group Field Guide to Insects and Spiders. This latter already has, I now find, a discussion thread relating to the spread of this noxious pest.
This is Harmonia axyridis conspicua, a form of the harlequin ladybird. They are voracious and threaten our own 46 resident species with extinction. And they’re all over London in many different guises and are spreading fast!
If you’re at all interested in ladybirds and ecology then please keep a watch out and report any sightings to the Harlequin Ladybird Survey, preferably with a photograph for verification.
Apparently the advice is not to kill them if you find them since it’s very easy to misidentify British native ladybirds as harlequins and besides killing one or two would have very little impact on their population.
And yes, when hungry, harlequin ladybirds will bite humans in their search for something edible. The bastard really did bite me!