Ladybird Ecology

What is a Ladybird?

Ladybirds are beetles (Order: Coleoptera) and so possess two characteristics that distinguish them from insects of other orders:

1. Hard forewings (elytra) that cover the abdomen and meet centrally

2. Biting mouthparts


The ladybird family within the beetle group is called the Coccinellidae. Coccinellids can be recognised by a number of general features:

• Small to medium sized beetles (1-10 mm or 1/16 - 3/4 inch long)

• Usually round or oval

• Elytra are often brightly coloured and patterned

• Short, clubbed antennae

• Pronotum (structure between the head and the elytra) is broader than long; extends forward at the margins and is often patterned

• Short legs that are retractable under the body

• Feet ( tarsi ) that have four segments but the third is so small that only three are easily visible