What do ladybugs eat? Most of them are predators and eat other insects, many of which are considered serious pests of plants. Ladybird is often called the gardener's best friend. They eat aphids, thus controlling the number of pests in the garden and replacing the use of chemical pesticides. The larvae also feed on aphids. They also eat other insects that have soft bodies - ticks, whiteflies, shchitovok and others.
Ladybug: life cycle
There are more than 4,000 species of these interesting representatives of the insect world in the world (Latin name: Coccinellidea). What eat ladybugs? Adults and larvae feed on soft-bodied pests, plant mites and pests of eggs. Most of all they love aphids! One individual in its life usually eats more than 5,000 aphids. What is their life cycle? The female lays her eggs (5-20 pieces) on the leaves or stems of plants. In about a week, the larvae hatch out of eggs, resembling tiny crocodiles. Before becoming a pupa, the larva consumes from 350 to 400 aphids.
Larvae go through several stages of maturation. About a month later, the larvae pupate, a week after that young beetles appear. At this stage, they are quite unlike adults, which people used to call ladybirds. Distinctive features are the specks and bright colors that are needed in order to make them less attractive to any predators.
Protectors of crops and ornamental gardens
Ladybug is a member of a family that includes thousands of insect species. When people hear the words "ladybug", they represent bright red beetles with black spots, although these useful insects can be of different colors, with or without spots. What do ladybugs eat? They live in gardens around the world, and they are often welcome guests, as they eat agricultural pests and other small insects.
Males and females of many species are very similar, only biologists can distinguish them. What do ladybugs eat? As a rule, after spring mating, they produce large egg masses, which are located next to a colony of aphids and other small insects. When the larvae hatch, they can feed on insects until they are large enough to fly and find food for themselves.
Where do ladybugs winter?
Ladybird can be found on plants that serve as food for aphids. It can be such plants as mustard, buckwheat, coriander, clover, dandelion and others. Warmer and secluded corners, fissures and bark of trees are chosen for wintering, they can huddle in lowlands or at high altitudes, under fallen leaves, in crevices, small cracks of houses, stones, mainly on the sunny side, and so on. In winter, ladybirds avoid cold air, hiding under a layer of fallen leaves in the forest. Surprisingly, some species can survive at minus 20 ° C.
As soon as the ladybugs penetrate the house, they begin to secrete special pheromones that attract other relatives. Pheromones are used as a means of communication during mating and hibernation. Such peculiar "perfumes" in insects are very powerful, they can be detected at a distance of up to 500 meters from the place of their application. This helps the insects to find each other and allows future generations to learn about a good place for wintering. Ladybirds gather in groups when they hibernate.
The question may arise about what ladybugs eat at home? It is known that they do not eat cloth, plants, paper or any other household items. During hibernation, they live at the expense of their own accumulated stocks. They also prefer humidity, but in the house in winter it is usually not particularly humid, and they use every opportunity to get water for themselves, since otherwise they can become dehydrated. Thus, answering the question about what ladybirds feed on in winter, one can answer that they use their accumulated energy energy with nothing, or rather. With the onset of spring, the surviving cows, as a rule, leave home.
Where did the name ladybug come from?
The scientific name of the ladybird was due to its unusually bright color - the Latin word "coccineus" corresponds to the concept of "scarlet". And the common nicknames that gave the ladybird in many countries around the world speak of the respect and sympathy of people for this insect. For example, in Germany and Switzerland, it is known as the “bug of the Virgin Mary” (Marienkaefer), in Slovenia and the Czech Republic the ladybird is called the “Sun” (Slunecko), and many Latin Americans know it as the “cow of St. Anthony” (Vaquita de San Antonio).
The origin of the Russian name of the ladybug is not precisely known. Some researchers are inclined to believe that this is due to the ability of an insect to release “milk” in case of danger - a special poisonous liquid (hemolymph) that frightens predators. And “god” means meek, harmless. Others believe that these insects got the nickname “ladybugs” because they destroy aphids and contribute to the preservation of the harvest.
Ladybug: description, description, photo. What does an insect look like?
The size of a ladybug ranges from 4 to 10 mm. The shape of the body of insects is almost round or elongated-oval, flat below and strongly convex from above. Its surface in some species of ladybirds is covered with fine hairs.
In the structure of the body of the ladybirds, the head, pronotum, chest consisting of three sections, three pairs of legs, abdomen, and wings with elytra are distinguished. The head of the insect is small, fixedly attached to the prothorax and, depending on the species, may be slightly elongated. The eyes of a ladybug are relatively large. Antennae, consisting of 8-11 segments, have great flexibility.
The pronotum of the insect is convex, transversely structure, with a notch on the anterior margin. Often there are spots of various shapes on its surface. In contrast to the anterior and mesothoraxus, stretched across the body of the insect, the form of the positetum resembles an almost perfect square.
In total, ladybirds have 6 legs, which are of moderate length. In the structure of each paw of the insect, there are three distinct and one hidden segment. With their help, the insect can quickly move through the grass or plant stems. The abdomen of the ladybirds is five or six segments, covered with sternites (segmental semirings) covered below.
Ladybirds fly with the help of two rear wings.
In the process of evolution, the front wings of a ladybug were transformed into rigid sheaths, serving as protection for the main pair during that period while the cows are on the ground.
As protection against predators, for example, birds, ladybirds emit cantharidin, a poisonous yellow liquid that has an unpleasant odor.
In addition, the bright colors of the cow also scares away potential enemies from it.
The color of the protective covers of a ladybug can be bright red, rich yellow, black, dark blue or brown with spots of black, yellow, red or white in various configurations.
In some types of ladybirds, these spots may merge into abstract patterns, in others they are completely absent. Often the pattern on the pronotum is a sign by which the sex of a ladybird can be distinguished.
Virtually no animal or insect can harm the members of the family. However, there is an enemy against whom the bright color and the poisonous hemolymph of the ladybirds are powerless. These insects are called dinocampuses. They choose places for laying their eggs in the bodies of pupae or adult ladybirds. In the process of development, the parasites destroy their host.
Types of ladybirds, titles and photos
The numerous family of ladybirds includes more than 4,000 species, divided into 7 subfamilies, which include approximately 360 genera.
The most interesting varieties of ladybirds:
- Two-point cow (lat. Adalia bipunctata)
Beetle with body length up to 5 mm, dark red elytra and two large black specks. Prothorax deprived of front keel. The pronotum is colored black and has a yellow lateral border.
- Seven-spotted ladybug (lat. Coccinella septempunctata)
The most common ladybug in Europe. The size of a ladybug reaches 7-8 mm. The elytra are colored red; they have one small white speck (at the base) and three large black ones. The seventh spot of a ladybug is located on the pronotum (shield).
- Twelve-point ladybug (lat. Coleomegilla maculata)
The insect is 6 mm long and has a pink or red elytra with 6 points on each of them.
- Thirteen point bug (lat. Hippodamia tredecimpunctata)
The size of the elongated body of adults varies from 4.5 to 7 mm. The wings of a ladybug are colored red-brown. On them 13 spots are allocated, some of which merge among themselves.
- Fourteen-dotted cow (Lat. Propylea quatuordecimpunctata)
She has yellow or black elytra with dots in black or yellow.
- Seventeen-point ladybug (lat.Tytthaspis sedecimpunctata)
The body of the insect is 2.5-3.5 mm long. Usually its color is bright yellow, sometimes it can be darker. These bugs live in Europe.
- Asian ladybug (lat. Harmonia axyridis)
The beetle has a body length of up to 7 mm. Within the species there are two subspecies. One of them has elytral yellow with black specks, both large and small. The prothorax is white with a dark pattern. For the second subspecies, the black coloring of the elytra is characteristic, on which specks of red-orange color are clearly visible. Prothoracic black with light yellow spots. This type of ladybug has 19 spots.
- The cow is changeable (lat. Hippodamia variegata)
Body size up to 5.5 mm. The pronotum is black and has two yellow spots. On the yellow-red sheaths, 6 dark spots of various shapes and 1 large spot near the shield are clearly distinguished. The edges of the black pronotum are framed with a yellow border.
- Mottled cow (lat. Anatis ocellata)
Quite a large insect with a body length of up to 10 mm. The color of the head and pronotum of this species of ladybug is black with slight yellow spots. The elytra are yellow or red, with black spots on each of them, surrounded by lighter rims.
- Alfalfa twenty-four-point cow (lat. Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata)
Pest crops. A small bug with a body length in an adult individual is not more than 4 mm. The whole body of a ladybug is colored red. Elytra and pronotum are covered with 24 small black spots.
- Boneless ladybug (lat. Cynegetis impunctata)
A rather rare type of ladybugs, the red or brown body of which is covered with small and thin fibers. The size of the imago does not exceed 4.5 mm. On its elytra and pronotum there are no characteristic points.
- Ladybug kindSospitahas several types and color variations.
- ladybug Halyzia sedecimguttata
Insect orange elytron with 16 white dots. It lives in Europe and the British Isles.
- ladybug Anatis labiculata
Insect white or light gray with 15 black dots.
- There is also the blue ladybug is Halmus chalybeus.
Its wings are cast in blue glitter, and the length reaches 3-4 mm. This insect lives in Australia.
Where do ladybirds live?
The area of distribution of ladybirds includes all continents of the globe and all climatic zones, with the exception of Antarctica and areas covered with eternal snow. You can meet these insects in all countries of Northern, Western and Eastern Europe: Sweden and Norway, Denmark and Iceland, Great Britain and France, the Netherlands and Germany, Italy and Poland, in all countries of the former Soviet Union. Insects fly over the expanses of India and Pakistan, Korea and Mongolia, China and Japan, as well as North and South America. They live in Cambodia and Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia.
Some species of cows prefer to settle in only those plants that have developed a colony of aphids, others prefer sedge and reed growing along water bodies and rivers as dwellings, and grass grasses are the third to live.
How do ladybirds live?
Regardless of the species, ladybirds lead an isolated lifestyle, gathering together only for the duration of the mating season, flights, or wintering grounds.
All species from the family of ladybirds are heat-loving insects, so most of the individuals living in temperate latitudes, in anticipation of the onset of cold weather, gather in huge flocks and fly away for wintering in countries with a warm climate. However, there are sedentary insects. They wait the winter cold season, having gathered in huge communities, the number of which can reach 40 million individuals. In this case, the total weight of a flock of ladybirds can be several tons. As a shelter from adverse conditions, insects use the collapse of stones, fallen bark and leaves of trees. But ladybirds do not live long. With sufficient food supplies, the life span of ladybirds can reach 1 year, with a shortage of feed, this period is reduced to several months.
What eat ladybugs?
Among the variety of types of ladybirds, almost all are predators and eat large quantities of aphids and ticks. With "pleasure" they feed on small caterpillars, butterfly eggs and pupae of other insects. During the famine, even the Colorado potato beetle is not averse.
However, some ladybugs eat only plant food. Their diet includes the mycelium of fungi, pollen of plants, their leaves, flowers, and even fruits.
How do ladybugs breed? Stages of development of a ladybug.
Individuals of ladybirds reach sexual maturity in the period between 3 and 6 months of life. The breeding season of ladybirds begins in the middle of spring. Having gained strength after leaving hibernation or flight, they start mating. The male finds a female by a specific smell, which it emits during this period. Ladybug female lays eggs on plants near the colony of aphids to provide offspring with food. The eggs of a ladybug, attached to the underside of the leaflets, are oval-shaped with slightly tapered tips. Their surface may have a wrinkled texture and may be colored yellow, orange or white. The number of eggs in the clutch reaches 400 pcs. Unfortunately, after the mating season, female ladybirds die.
After 1-2 weeks of the laid eggs appear variegated larvae of ladybug oval or flat shape. The surface of their body can be covered with thin bristles or hairs, and the pattern on the body is formed by a combination of yellow, orange and white spots.
In the first days of their life, the larvae eat the shell of the egg from which they hatched, as well as unfertilized eggs or eggs with a dead embryo. Having gained strength, the larvae of the ladybirds set about destroying the colonies of aphids.
The larval stage of development of the insect lasts about 4-7 weeks, after which pupation occurs.
The pupa is attached to the leaf of the plant by the remains of the exo-skeleton of the larva. During this period, all the characteristic parts of the insect are laid. After 7-10 days, a fully formed adult individual appears from the cocoon.
The benefits and harm of ladybirds
The voracity of predatory ladybirds and their larvae has long benefited gardens, orchards and crops of cultivated plants in many countries around the world. If a ladybird larva is able to kill about 50 aphids a day, then an adult ladybug can eat up to 100 aphids a day. In order to clean agricultural land from pests, the populations of cows are specially bred at special enterprises and with the help of aviation they spray them over fields and plantations infected with pests.
However, herbivorous species of cows, living mainly in subtropical and tropical regions of South and Southeast Asia, can cause great damage to agricultural crops. On the territory of Russia, there are also several types of ladybirds, destroying potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, as well as sugar beets.
Ladybug: description, structure, characterization. What does a ladybug look like?
According to the biological classification of a ladybird - arthropod insect, which belongs to the beetles and the family of ladybirds.
The size of a ladybug is 4 to 10 mm. The shape of their body is either round or oval-elongated, flat below and very convex on top. The surface of the body in some species of ladybirds is covered with fine hairs. In the structure of their body, the head, pronotum, chest consisting of three sections, abdomen, winged wings and three pairs of legs are distinguished.
Голова божьей коровки маленькая (хотя у некоторых видов может быть слегка вытянута), она неподвижно соединена с передней грудью. А вот глаза божьей коровки относительно большие. Усики насекомого, которые состоят из 8-11 члеников, обладают большой гибкостью.
Переднеспинка божьей коровки выпуклая, имеет поперечное строение и вырезку на переднем крае. На ее поверхности часто имеются «фирменные» пятнышка разной формы.
Due to the presence of three pairs of paws, the ladybug can move quite quickly both on the grass and on the stalks of plants. The abdomen of the ladybirds consists of five or six segments, which are covered from below with sternites (segmental semirings).
Despite the fact that the ladybug in the presence of two whole pairs of wings, they fly only with the help of two rear. The front wings in the process of evolution transformed into rigid elytra, which serve as protection for the rear wings at the moment when the ladybird is on the ground.
As a means of protection from predators, ladybugs are able to emit some poisoned "milk" - cantharidin, a toxic yellow liquid, which also has an unpleasant odor. Additionally, the enemies are repelled by the bright colors of a ladybug. The color of the protective cover of a ladybug can be not only bright red, but also yellow, black, white, with stains of different colors and different configurations. Sometimes the pattern on the pronotum of the ladybird can speak of its sex.
Enemies of ladybugs
Of course, there are ladybirds and their enemies in the natural environment, they are insects dinocampuses. Against them, the bright coloring and poisonous hemophile of ladybirds are powerless. Dinocampuses choose bodies of ladybirds for laying their eggs, in the process of development small parasites dinocampuses tear apart the bodies of their masters from inside (now you know where the creators of the series of science fiction films “Alien” drew their ideas).
This type of ladybug is the most common in Europe. Its size is 7-8 mm. Its elytra are colored red, on its sides there are three black spots, the seventh is located at the head of the insect.
This ladybug has a length of up to 7 mm and is divided into two subspecies. One of them has yellow elytra with black spots, both large and small. The second subspecies is characterized by black color of the elytra, on which spots of red-orange color are visible.
Interesting facts about ladybirds
- Since ancient times, people worshiped the ladybirds, which in the imagination of the ancients served as the personification of divine powers. For example, our ancestors, the ancient Slavs, considered the ladybirds as messengers of the sun goddess.
- Also, since ancient times, with the help of ladybugs, people predicted the weather, so the insect flying away from the palm promised clear and sunny weather. Conversely, the ladybird, who wanted to stay on hand, was the herald of bad weather, rain.
- In many cultures, a ladybug is considered a symbol of good luck, for the same reason many superstitions are associated with them and will accept, the common belief is that in no case should these insects be harmed so as not to incur troubles and hardships.
- For scientists, it still remains a mystery how ladybugs always invariably return to the same places after their wintering flights.
Where does the ladybug live?
Ladybird lives almost everywhere except in the Arctic and Antarctic. Ladybird lives on trees, shrubs and grass in different parts of the world. Most often, a ladybug lives in the steppe zone, forests, mountains and gardens. In Russia, the ladybug lives on almost the entire territory, with the exception of the extreme northern regions. Also, the ladybug lives in Europe, Asia, Japan, China, India, Mongolia, Africa, Korea and America.
How does a ladybug live?
Ladybird lives, showing activity from early spring to late autumn. In winter, ladybirds hide under foliage, tree bark or stones, where they remain until spring. But not all ladybirds live sedentary and remain to spend the winter there, where they spent the summer. Often, before the onset of cold weather, ladybugs make flights.
During periods of wintering and hops, ladybugs, usually leading a solitary lifestyle, come together. Also mass accumulations of this beetle are characteristic during the mating season. In the spring, the ladybird wakes up very early, for it is enough that the temperature reaches only + 10 ° C. Therefore, the ladybird can be seen one of the first after the winter. Ladybirds live from 10 to 12 months and only occasionally up to 2 years. The lifespan of a ladybug depends on the availability of food.
The marriage period of ladybirds falls in the middle of spring, when insects have already gained strength after hibernation or flight. During the breeding period, the female allocates a special secret, according to which the male finds her. Then the female lays eggs on plants. Ladybird chooses a place closer to the colonies of aphids, so that the offspring was provided with food.
Eggs of a ladybug are similar to the pointed granules of an oval form and can be painted in yellow, orange or white color. The female lays them on the underside of the leaves or the stems of the plant. One ladybug can lay up to 400 eggs, placing them in small piles. If the female eats well, then she is able to lay up to 1 thousand eggs.
After about a couple of weeks, the motley oval-shaped ladybug larvae having a bluish-gray tint appear from the laid eggs. The larva of a ladybug has thin setae on the body and a peculiar pattern, which is formed by a combination of orange, yellow and white spots. Having hatched, the larva of a ladybug eats the shell of its egg and the dead eggs. When the larva gets stronger, it begins to destroy colonies by aphids. On the day, the voracious larva of a ladybug eats up to 300 aphids.
In the larvae stage the ladybug will be about 4-7 weeks. All this time, the ladybird larva is very mobile, because it is in constant search of food. Then the larva of a ladybug turns into a pupa and attaches to the plant. As it develops, it begins to acquire all the characteristic signs of a full-fledged insect. After about 10 days, a fully formed adult appears from the cocoon.
Why is a ladybird called that?
It still remains a mystery why the ladybird is so called. Perhaps it was called so because of the fact that the insect ladybug is able to release "milk" - a poisonous yellow liquid that scares off enemies. A "god" it may have been nicknamed for its harmless nature and help in preserving the crop by destroying the aphid.
Insect ladybug all over the world enjoys great sympathy and respect. In different countries, the ladybird is called differently. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the ladybird is called the “Beetle of the Blessed Virgin Mary”. In England, the United States and Australia - "Lady Beetle". In the countries of Latin America - “the cow of St. Anthony”. In the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus and Ukraine, it is called "the sun." In some countries, monuments have been erected in honor of the ladybug.
Around this insect there are many beliefs and signs that foreshadow only good events. With the participation of a ladybug there are many legends. Ladybird is considered a symbol of good luck, in ancient times people worshiped this insect and worshiped it. The image of this beetle on clothing or various decorations were considered a talisman. In some cultures it is forbidden to harm this insect in order not to attract trouble.
The ancient Slavs considered the ladybird to be the messenger of the sun goddess. It is believed that you can not chase the ladybug, which sat on you, so as not to frighten fortune. If she flew into the house, she brings peace and harmony into it. Even the weather was predicted with its help. This amazing and tiny insect with the simple name ladybird has such a universal love.
If you liked this article and you like to read about animals, subscribe to site updates to get the most recent and interesting articles about animals first.