Length: 5 - 6mm. Background colour: pink, salmon, yellow. Pattern colour: black spots and cream streaking in two forms: (1) ‘16-spotted’: 16 black spots in a 1-3-3-1 pattern on each elytron (most common) and (2) ‘4-spotted’: 4 black spots on outer sides of elytra. Number of spots: 4-20 (16). Spot fusions: not common. Melanic (black) forms: rare. Pronotum: white with 5-9 black spots in a distinctive pattern. Leg colour: brown. Other features: often rests head-down on pine buds, where it is very well camouflaged.
Fourth-instar larva: black, with thick dorsal spines coming from each tubercle, each branching from base into three prongs; bright orange line on each side, made from orange spots on the middle tubercles of abdominal segments one to four; one pair of orange dots on dorsal surface, made from inner tubercles of abdominal segment four. Pupa: light greyish brown, sometimes with a pink tinge, with six longitudinal rows of black spots; black lateral transverse markings on anterior end; remains of shed spiky larval skin visible at the base of pupa.
Habitats: The cream-streaked ladybird is a conifer specialist but records have been received from heathlands, scrub, grassland and dune systems.
Host plants: This species is the most common large ladybird found on conifers, usually Scots pine. There are records from exotic pines, Douglas fir and Norway spruce. Cream-streaked ladybirds are occasionally found on herbaceous plants and shrubs such as nettle and gorse, but these are usually situated close to conifers.
Overwintering sites: Cream-streaked ladybirds overwinter on various conifers, usually needled-conifers but occasionally scale-leaved conifers such as Leyland cypress.