Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

Coccinellidae (Lady Beetles)

North America has about 500 species of lady beetles. These predacious beetles are good to have around, especially in the garden as they eat aphids, mealybugs, scale bugs, and other soft-bodied insects.  They can eat up to 60 aphids per day and 500 aphids before the beetles begin to lay eggs.

The larvae have interesting spiny/hairy appendages that remain on them. I queried the Iowa Insect listserv and here’s the answer I received from Louis Hesler.The hairy/spiny appendages on many coccinellid pupae are the remains of the last larval cuticle.  I am not aware of explicit reasons why they are retained, but they may serve as mechanical or non-palatable deterrents to predators.  There is no evidence that they relate to mobility.”

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Lava of Asian Lady Beetle — Harmonia axyridis

Many of the lady beetles east of the Rocky Mountains are introduced and non-native species. Introduction of the species tend to be for biological control but often this has not worked out good for the environment.

Coccinids lay their oval-shaped eggs on the underside of leaves or in crevices of bark. They are quite beautiful ranging in color from yellowish to reddish orange. The larvae vary in appearance from species to species but have one unique characteristic; they produce waxy threads which are thought to guard against predators.

The number of generations per year vary with the species and the climate. The adults have a tendency to aggregate. They use this time to mate before dispersing.

The food preference, habitat, and ecology of Coccinids are distinct at the tribe taxonomical category rather than the family, genus, or species level.