Length: 4 - 5mm. Background colour: red. Pattern colour: black spots. Number of spots: 5-9 (5). Spot fusions: very rare. Melanic (black) forms: no. Pronotum: black with anterior-lateral white marks. Leg colour: black. Other features: quite rounded and domed in shape
Fourth-instar larva: dark grey, with black tubercles producing fine hairs; bright orange lateral patches on first thoracic segment; middle and outer tubercles on abdominal segments one and four bright orange; lateral tubercle on segments six and seven also orange. Pupa: unknown.
Habitats: 5-spot ladybirds in Britain are found only on unstable river shingle. In continental Europe they occur in more varied habitats.
Host plants: 5-spot ladybirds can be observed scurrying between low-lying herbaceous plants in amongst river shingle. Specifically, they have been reported on nettle, thistles, bitter-cress and angelica. There are a few records of this species on broom. 5-spot ladybirds can also be found in flood debris.
Overwintering sites: 5-spot ladybirds overwinter on gorse, under shingle stones and in leaf litter.