2Coccinellidae is a family of beetles commonly called ladybird, ladybug, or lady beetle. These small insects’ sizes range from 1mm to 10mm.Ladybugs are found worldwide, with over 5,000 species.They are often yellow, orange or scarlet (red- orange).
3AnatomyLadybugs are flying insects, but when they are not flying, the wings are covered and protected by a pair of modified wings (called elytra). When the ladybugs are flying, the elytra open up, then allowing the wings to move.The part above the elytra is the pronotum (part of the thorax). The pronotum commonly has greyish spots on it.The head of the ladybug is very small. Like most insects, ladybugs have six jointed legs, one pair of antennae, an exoskeleton made of chitin (a strong protein similar to the one that our hair and fingernail are made of). There body is also split up into three parts- The head (mouthparts, compound eye and antennae), the thorax (legs, wings) and the abdomen (excretory and reproductive organs and most of the digestive system).
4HabitatLadybugs can live in many habitats, some including forests, fields, grasslands, gardens, and sometimes in people’s houses. Most ladybugs help gardeners because they eat aphids, scale insects, mealy bugs and mites throughout the year. They also enter diapause (used to survive predictable, unfavourable environmental conditions). Some species move to higher land to enter diapause. Predatory ladybugs are usually found on plants where aphids or scale insects are.
5DietLadybugs are very useful in gardens because they eat aphids, mealybugs and mites (garden pests). Ladybug larvae can eat about 25 aphids a day, while adults eat over 50.Ladybugs also eat leaves, nectar, pollen and honeydew.
6Life StagesFemale ladybugs lay tiny eggs, usually in a small mass.The larvae that hatches from the egg is small and long, with 6 legs. As it grows, the larva sheds it’s skin many times. After it reaches it’s full size, the larvae attaches itself to the leaf or stem of a plant. The larval skin then splits down the back, exposing the pupa. The pupa is about the size of the adult, but is wrapped up, protecting the ladybug while it undergoes metamorphosis into it’s adult stage.
7Fun Facts A ladybug can lay up to 1000 eggs in it’s lifetime. Not all ladybugs have spots.Ladybugs will clean themselves after a meal.Ladybugs come in many colours such as pink, yellow, white, orange and black.Ladybugs make a chemical that smells and tastes bad so predators won’t eat them.Ladybugs hibernate in large groups in cold weather.Ladybugs are considered a sign of good luck in many countries.Ladybugs are actually beetles, so are sometimes called Ladybeetles.The bright colours of ladybugs warn birds that they don’t taste good.The spots on a ladybug fade as they get older.Some lesser used names for ladybugs are lady clock, lady cow and lady fly.