An elytrum (plural 'elytra') is the name given to the fore wing of a beetle. Like many insects, beetles have two pairs of wings but in beetles the front pair of wings have become hardened and useless for flight. Instead, these elytra form a hard case which protects the hind wings and the soft body of the insect when not flying.

Most harlequin ladybirds that have been found in Britain fall into one of three categories: orange with between 15 and 20 black spots; black with 2 orange or red spots; black with 4 orange or red black spots. The 7-spot is always reddish with seven black spots.

The striped ladybird is chestnut coloured with cream coloured spots and stripes. The eyed ladybird is a burgundy red, with 15 black spots, each of which is often ringed with pale yellow. The bryony ladybird is orange with 11 black spots