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Table of Contents
Coccinellidae septempunctata, popularly known as ladybugs or lady beetles, are colorful small beetles, usually with black spots on each of their elytron (which are hard wing covers). They are gardener’s friends as they have a huge appetite for aphids.
See the fact file below for more information on the Ladybug or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Ladybug worksheet pack to utilize within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Ladybugs are tiny beetles known by several different names.
- They belong to the Coccinellidae family. (The term coccinellids comes from the Latin word coccineus, meaning “scarlet”).
- Ladybugs’ scientific name is Coccinellidae septempunctata (septempunctata is the Latin word meaning “seven spots”).
- In North America, this insect is called the seven-spotted ladybug.
- It is the most common ladybug in Europe, where it is known as a ladybird.
- The invertebrate is also known as a lady beetle in some areas.
- There are over 5,000 different species of ladybugs found in the world.
- They come in many different colors and patterns.
- Some species have stripes, some have spots, and some are just plain.
- The most familiar ladybug is the seven-spot ladybug, which has an attractive shiny, red-and-black body.
- Both males and females are called ladybugs!
- Many people like ladybugs because they are known to be graceful, pretty, and harmless to humans.
- Farmers particularly like ladybugs because they eat aphids and other plant-eating pests.
- Ladybugs have been repeatedly introduced to North America as a biological control agent to reduce aphid numbers and are now well established in North America.
- An adult ladybug may reach a body length of 0.3–0.5 in (7.6–12.7 mm).
- Most ladybugs have oval, dome-shaped bodies with six short legs.
- Ladybugs are commonly red or yellow with black spots, but there are also black and white ladybugs as well as orange and blue.
- Depending on the species, ladybugs can have spots, stripes, or no markings at all.
- Orange and blue ladybugs are the more exotic species.
- Sadly the color of a ladybug fades with age.
- The seven-spotted ladybugs have three black spots on each elytra, and a seventh spot spread over the junction of the two elytra.
- An elytra is a modified hardened forewing that serves as a protective case for the bug’s hindwings.
- Ladybug’s heads are black with white patches on either side.
- Depending on sex and diet, the spot size and coloration provide some indication of how toxic the individual insect is to potential predators.
- The ladybug’s bright colors act as an important defense mechanism, warning animals they’d best not eat them.
- Their coloring is a reminder to any peckish predators who’ve eaten them before that they taste disgusting.
- When threatened, the ladybugs secrete an oily, yukky, yellow fluid from joints in their legs.
- A threatened ladybird may also play dead to protect itself as most prey will not eat dead creatures.
Habitat and Diet
- Ladybugs can thrive in many different habitats.
- These incredible insects are happy in forests, grasslands, cities, suburbs, and along rivers.
- During spring and summer, when they are most active, these insects can be seen fluttering around or walking on the leaves of plants.
- When the weather turns cooler, they look for warm, secluded places to hibernate, such as under rocks, in rotting logs, or even inside houses.
- Ladybugs like to group together, too, and these hibernating colonies can sometimes contain thousands of ladybugs.
- Seven-spot ladybugs are native to Europe but were introduced to North America in the mid-1900s to control aphid populations.
- The first record of successful establishment in the United States was in 1973. It has since spread by natural dispersion to New York and Connecticut and to Oklahoma, Georgia, and Delaware by recolonization.
- Ladybugs also inhabit Europe, North Africa, Australia, Cyprus, European Russia, the Caucasus, Siberia, the Russian Far East, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, the Transcaucasia, Kazakhstan, Middle Asia, Western Asia, Middle East, Afghanistan, Mongolia, China, North and South Korea, Pakistan, Nepal, North India, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia, and tropical Africa.
- Ladybugs are mostly carnivores.
- Both the larvae and the adults are voracious predators of aphids and generally live where there is an abundance of aphids for them to eat.
- Apparently, a single ladybug can gobble more than 5,000 aphids in a year.
- Ladybugs also feed on the eggs and larvae of some beetles and butterflies, white flies, scale insects, and spider mites.
- Sadly, ladybugs also eat soft-bodied ladybugs in desperate times when there’s no other food.
- Gardeners and farmers love ladybugs because they eat lots of pests.
- The ladybug’s life cycle is fast and short.
- It consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
- After fertilization, female ladybugs may wait several months before laying eggs.
- A single female ladybug can lay hundreds of yellow or orange eggs at once.
- Ladybugs usually lay their eggs on leaves where there will be plenty of food for the babies when they hatch.
- Ladybugs also lay both fertile and infertile eggs in a batch so that when the fertile eggs hatch, the larvae can eat the infertile eggs.
- The eggs hatch within 4-10 days.
- Small odd-looking creatures emerge as larvae.
- Ladybug larvae vary in color and shape depending on the species.
- Seven-spot ladybug larvae are long, black, and spiky-looking with orange or yellow spots.
- Ladybug larvae grow quickly, shedding their skins several times.
- When they reach full size, they attach to a leaf by their tail, and a ‘pupa’ is formed.
- Within fifteen days, the pupa becomes an adult ladybug.
- Ladybugs live one to two years.
- Ladybugs’ colored bodies serve as a warning to predators that they do not make a good meal!
- These clever bugs also have a brilliant trick for avoiding danger. They remain very still and pretend to be dead.
- Ladybugs’ main predators are birds, but they also fall victim to frogs, wasps, spiders, and dragonflies.
- As a defense mechanism, ladybugs secrete a foul-tasting, oily fluid from their leg joints.
- This secretion can be poisonous to some animals but not to humans.
Ladybugs in Popular Culture
- In 1977, Eric Carle published a children’s book entitled “The Grouchy Ladybug”. The story is about an ill-mannered ladybug who thinks she is better than everybody. The story teaches about good manners, friendship, and different animals.
- There is a “Mother Goose” rhyme written in the 18th century called “Ladybird, Ladybird”. You might know it; it goes like this:
Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire, and your children are gone,
All except one,
And her name is Ann,
And she hid under the baking pan.
Did You Know?
- Ladybugs smell with their antennae and feet.
- These much-loved critters are also known as lady beetles or ladybugs, and in many cultures, they’re considered good luck.
- In 1888, an Australian ladybug was imported to California for a pest control experiment. The experiment helped triple California’s orange crop.
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Ladybugs across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Ladybug worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Coccinellidae septempunctata, popularly known as ladybugs or lady beetles, are colorful small beetles usually with black spots on their elytron (wing covers).
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Ladybug Facts
- Lost Ladybugs
- Ladybug Lie Detector
- Ladybug Crossword
- Ladybug Word Search
- Trivia Time
- Ladybird Johnson
- Ladybug or Not?
- The Grouchy Ladybug
- My Own Ladybug Story
- Food for Thought
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a male ladybug called?
Male ladybugs are also called ladybugs! The name covers both the male and female species of ladybugs. It is difficult to determine their gender by appearance alone.
What is a group of ladybugs called?
The name for a group of ladybugs is a bloom, maybe because they resemble a flower/bloom when they are clustered together.
Can one keep a ladybug as a pet?
Apparently, ladybugs make good pets. They are cute, quiet, easy to catch, and don’t take up a lot of space. However, these beautiful bugs are the happiest roaming free, so why not make a bug hotel in the garden for them instead.
What happens to ladybugs in winter?
In winter, adult ladybugs hibernate. They survive the cold winter months and food shortages by becoming dormant, so their metabolism slows, and less energy is required to survive.
Do ladybugs bite?
Ladybugs do not have teeth. Instead, they have mandibles or chewing mouth parts for eating soft-bodied insects like tiny aphids. Contact with the mandibles would feel like a slight pinch.
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Link will appear as Ladybug Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 30, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.