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Ladybugs Maturing & Seeking Shelter

9-27-17 ladybug IMG_6065

Ladybugs, along with roughly 88% of all insects, pass through four separate stages (egg, larva, pupa, adult) in their life cycle. This form of maturation is referred to as complete metamorphosis. Like many other insects that experience complete metamorphosis, the larval, pupal and adult stages do not closely resemble one another. While most of us would have no trouble recognizing an adult ladybug, the two middle stages are strikingly different from the adult spotted beetle we’re familiar with. After a ladybug egg hatches, the larva emerges, looking a bit like a tiny alligator. Anywhere from seven to twenty-one days later and after several molts, the larva attaches itself to a leaf and pupates. The pupa assumes yet another bizarre form, which some feel resembles a shrimp. Within a week or two the pupa matures and transforms into an adult ladybug. Most species of ladybugs hibernate (technically enter “diapause,” as it’s referred to with insects) as adults in large groups under leaf litter, logs and other protected spots.

3 responses

  1. Howard Bass

    This solves a great mystery around our house in Arlington, Virginia. We were seeing scores, or maybe hundreds, of little white critters on our car, which is usually parked under a sugar maple. We’d never seen these little critters before, and our 14-yr-old son put one under a microscope; they looked a bit scary. And we saw some of the next stage, too, and thought that was the parent. In addition, the maple has been shedding its leaves recently, earlier than usual. I suggested a connection between the leaves coming down on and around our car and the little insects. Your post this morning solves a mystery for us. Many thanks!

    On Wed, Sep 27, 2017 at 7:26 AM, Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: ” Ladybugs, along with roughly 88% of all insects, > pass through four separate stages (egg, larva, pupa, adult) in their life > cycle. This form of maturation is referred to as complete metamorphosis. > Like many other insects that experience complete metamorp” >

    September 27, 2017 at 7:57 am

  2. I had no idea. I wonder how many people, finding the “scary looking” early stages in their garden, would destroy them, not realizing they would mature into beneficial and beloved ladybugs.

    September 28, 2017 at 10:33 am

  3. birdlady612

    I love seeing g the baby lady bugs. I’ve actually ordered ladybugs from seed catalogs before and this is the way they arrive. It’s a great way to get rid of aphids. Thanks for sharing. 🙋🐦

    October 15, 2017 at 9:29 am

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