Lady Beetle
( Coccinellidae )


2014-0420-EB550148-COL01979-Coccinellidae[1505h40s,H,A,dorsum]{EXD}-G.jpg

PHOTO COMMENT

IDENTIFICATION
Identification:Coccinellidae
(Latreille ,1807 )
Common Name:Lady Beetle
Life Stage:(A) adult

PHYLOGENY

Phylum:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Superorder:Holometabola
Order:Coleoptera
Suborder:Polyphaga
Family:Coccinellidae
Taxon Code:COL01979
ITIS/TSN:114329

LOCATION DETAILS
Location Name
Tilden Regional Park, Tilden Regional Park, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley
County:Alameda County
ECI Site#:CAEB550000
Open Space Location:Tilden Regional Park

RECOGNITION
Description
Adults: Red lady beetles with black spots are among the most easily-recognized insects. There are many other colors and patterns, though, which can be hard to identify. The following physical features will identify all lady beetles, no matter what color they are. Form: Rounded or oval, dorsally convex (dome-shaped), nearly flat on the ventral (bottom). Pronotum: a hard shell in front of wings often conceals the head from above, and may even look like a head. Antennae: short or very short with 8-11 segments; last 3-6 segments form a weak club. Legs: Tarsal formula 4-4-4, but appears to be 3-3-3. Abdomen: First abdominal sternite entire, not divided by hind coxae (characteristic of suborder Polyphaga of the Coleoptera). Larvae: Very different-looking, and may not be recognized as lady beetles. They are soft-bodied, flattened and elongated ("alligator-shaped"). Predatory species have fully-developed legs, so they don't look as much like worms as many other beetle larvae. Larvae go through 4 instars, that is they molt three times before pupating; the instars can be fairly different. Many are gray or black and may have colorful markings . Others have waxy white tufts, resembling caterpillars or mealybugs.
Body Length
Adults: 1-10 mm. Larvae up to 20 mm.
Diversity
America, north of Mexico: More than 480 species in 61 genera. Worldwide: Around 6,000 species in 360 genera.
Similar Taxa
Many Leaf Beetles (family Chrysomelidae), to which the Coccinellidae are closely related, resemble Lady Beetles, having a dome form and tiny legs.

BIOLOGY
Food
Most lady beetles are predatory, eating a wide variety of other insects. Prey includes aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, fly larvae, and small caterpillars. They also eat insect eggs and pupae - even those of other lady beetles. Non-prey foods are an integral component of the diets of most predaceous coccinellids. Under field conditions, numerous coccinellids consume nectar, honeydew, pollen, fruit, vegetation, and fungus. These non-prey foods are used by coccinellids to increase survival when prey is scarce, reduce mortality during diapause, fuel migration, and enhance reproductive capacity. Each of these non-prey foods has unique nutritional and defensive characteristics that influence its suitability for lady beetles.
Habitat
Anywhere with suitable food. Usually outdoors, but in cold weather large groups may enter houses.
Importance
Lady Beetles are frequently introduced for biocontrol, so the number of non-native species in agricultural regions will continue to rise.
Range
Worldwide, including all of North America.
Diversity
America, north of Mexico: More than 480 species in 61 genera. Worldwide: Around 6,000 species in 360 genera.
Active Period
Active adults and larvae are present from spring to fall. Some adults can survive cold winters, but are usually inactive. All life stages present year-round in the southern United States.
Importance
Lady Beetles are frequently introduced for biocontrol, so the number of non-native species in agricultural regions will continue to rise.
Development
Larvae go through 4 different instars before pupating and finally becoming adults. Some larvae have tufts of white wax on the surface that make them look like mealybugs. Food is usually similar to that of the adults, and in the predatory species they're often important as pest controls. Before becoming adults, they go through an immobile stage with a shell-like skin. They shed this pupal case to emerge as adults. Many species gather in large numbers to hibernate. Some gather along lake shores, particularly in the spring and fall.

CREDITS
Photographer
Eddie Dunbar
Insect Sciences Museum of California

References
Family Coccinellidae - Lady Beetles. (bugguide.net/node/view/179). Accessed May 30, 2017. .
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