Judging by iNat observations, Harlequin Ladybugs (Harmonia axyridis) in Japan seem to be unusually dark in colour

Hello everybody!
Just now, I was scrolling through the ID module, looking at Harmonia axyridis, when I saw an observation of a particularly dark individual that was spotted in Japan. H. axyridis comes in different colour morphs, the most common usually being forma succinea (red with black spots), followed by f. spectabilis and f. conspicua (both black with 4, and 2 red spots, respectively). Now, this was not the only observation of almost entirely black ladybugs of this species. I remembered seeing a few other ones, all being observed in Japan (and one in Austria).
Out of curiosity I then set the location for the ID module to Japan, and interestingly, there were indeed almost entirely the black variants of H. axyridis and little of the more “usual” red ones. Also, very dark ladybugs seemed to be more common than in other places.

It’s mainly just an interesting thing I wanted to share, but if anybody knows more about this, or knows of any research being done regarding this, or just has a hypothesis as to why this may be, I’d love hearing about it!

(Also, I know that maybe formae are perhaps a bit “controvertial” for describing animals, as ICZN doesn’t recognise anything below subspecies, but it seems practical for this topic)


For what it’s worth, iNat data have been used to research regional color variation. Here’s an example: https://www.inaturalist.org/blog/22029-inat-photos-used-to-study-correlation-between-dragonfly-wing-coloration-and-temperature


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