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Ladybug Metamorphosis

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Much to my delight, many of you knew that yesterday’s mystery photo was none other than the larval stage of a ladybug (referred to as a “ladybird beetle” by entomologists, as it is not a true bug, but a beetle). I remember when I first learned what the different stages of a ladybug’s life cycle looked like – I couldn’t believe that this miniature alligator-like creature turned into a sweet little ladybug. Approximately 88% of all insects pass through four separate stages (complete metamorphosis: egg, larva, pupa, adult) by the time they reach adulthood. Ladybugs are one of these insects. The first three stages of a ladybug’s life each last anywhere from 7 to 21 days, depending on weather and food supply. An adult ladybug lives for 3 to 9 months. The larvae of all ladybug species (there are approximately 450 in New England) have a similar appearance. Yesterday’s larva, as well as today’s pupa (and accompanying shed larval skin) and adult, are  Multicolored Asian Ladybugs.

4 responses

  1. Susan in NH

    That’s amazing we have so many species in New England!

    June 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm

  2. Martha Cook

    I didn’t know this! Fascinating. Thanks Mary.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:39 am

  3. In what phase of their lives are they most beneficial to gardeners utilizing them as part of an IPM (integrated pest management) program?

    June 15, 2012 at 11:46 am

    • I found the following information, though can’t confirm that it’s accurate: “One larvae will eat about 400 medium-size aphids during its development to the pupal stage. An adult ladybug may eat over 5,000 aphids during its lifetime.” So adults, I would presume, is the answer to your question!

      June 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm

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