Length: 3 - 4mm. Background colour: russet. Pattern colour: black spots. Number of spots: 0-24 (20). Spot fusions: common. Melanic (black) forms: rare. Pronotum: russet with black spots. Leg colour: russet. Other features: elytra covered in fine hairs (visible with hand lens), giving the ladybird a matt appearance.
Fourth-instar larva: cream-yellow or greenish in colour; short and stubby in shape; tubercles dark, bearing thick yellow spiny bristles with extensive side-branching. Pupa: pale yellow with small black spots, partially covered by shed larval skin at base.
Habitats: The 24-spot ladybird is very much a grassland species and its habitat is often described as ‘rough grass’; however records have also been received from marshy habitats and scrub.
Host plants: This species is most commonly found on grasses but also on other low growing plants such as thistle, nettle, mugwort, salad burnet, knapweed, spurrey and tansy.
Food: red campion, false oat-grass.
Overwintering sites: 24-spot ladybirds overwinter in low herbage, grass tussocks and gorse bushes.