|Seven-spotted Ladybug – Coccinella septempunctata |
Family Coccinellidae – Lady Beetles
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Adult live beetles photographed at Winfield, Illinois, USA.
Ladybugs are among the most widely recognized beetles, for their bright colors and round, spotted elytra. Many people who are afraid of insects in general are fond of the ladybug, and will croon the oft quoted ditty, "Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home!" (Your house is on fire and your children will burn. Egads, how gruesome) while blowing on the insect to encourage its flight.
Ladybugs, also called lady beetles or ladybird beetles, are actually beetles in the Coleoptera family Coccinellidae. As insects go, they are a very beneficial group, being natural enemies of many insects, especially aphids and other critters that damage plants by feeding on their sap. A single ladybug can consume vast quantities of aphids in its lifetime, as many as 5,000 or more. There is a brisk business in commercial ladybugs for aphid control, and some of the species found in North America are actually invasives brought from Europe or Asia for such purpose.
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 â€˜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, as the box elder bug.
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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