As the common name suggests, the False Ladybird is not a ladybird but does look superficially similar, at least in colour. They are actually distinctly different in shape: they're much flatter, more elongated and have longer antennae. They're about 4-6.5mm and have four large black spots on their scarlet wing cases.
They belong to a family of beetles known as the 'handsome fungus beetles' and both the adults and larvae feed on fungus. They're widespread, harmless and mostly found on deadwood, especially birch and beech, from April to September. More information on it's distribution in the UK can be found on NBN Atlas here.
The False Ladybird is one of the less well know species that we introduce in 'The Tree That Held The Moon' to inspire curiosity and give readers the opportunity to expand their nature vocabulary. Stories are a fantastic way to introduce children to new words and ideas in a fun way. They provide the opportunity for children - and adults - to infer the meanings of words that they do not know; stories help children develop their vocabulary by making connections between known and unknown words.