|Orange-Spotted Lady Beetle - Brachiacantha ursina|
Family Coccinellidae - Lady Beetles
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Live adult ladybug photographed at DuPage County, Illinois. Size: 4mm
Sorry for these old photos (2003). I don't see this species anymore (2012).
"Adult beetles of the genus Brachiacantha (from the Greek "brachys" meaning short and "akantha" meaning thorn) are rounded to elongate oval and strongly convex. Their color is black with variable patterns of yellow to orange spots, some of which may become confluent." - From PDF The Brachiacantha (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) of Illinois by H. Wilson Montgomery, Jr. and Michael A. Goodrich.
As insects go, ladybugs are a very beneficial group, being natural of aphids and other critters that damage plants by feeding on their sap. A single ladybug can consume vast quantities of aphids in its lifetime, perhaps as many as 5,000 or more. There is a brisk business in commercial ladybugs for aphid control, and some of the species found here in North America are actually "invasives" brought from Europe or Asia for such purpose.
Coccinella septempunctata, the seven-spotted ladybug, sometimes called ‘C-7', is a medium-sized, orange beetle with seven black spots. It is a European species that was introduced into the US to aid in managing some aphid pests. Harmonia axyridis, the Multicolored Asian lady beetle, was introduced to North America many times, finally taking hold and becoming established in the 1980's. This invasive has become far and away the most numerous of the Coccinellids here in the midwest, and they are becoming one of the most annoying insect pests, invading homes to overwinter, much as the box elder bug.
Pink spotted ladybug
Order Coleoptera: Beetles are the dominant form of life on earth: one of every five living species is a beetle. Coleoptera is the largest order in the animal kingdom, containing a third of all insect species. There are about 400,000 known species worldwide, ~30,000 of which live in North America. Beetles live in nearly every habitat, and for every kind of food, there's probably a beetle species that eats it.
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