Ladybirds and their 4 stages

On my local patch this year there is an explosion of Ladybirds (Coccinellidae)

One thing I’ve notice this time that I hadn’t noticed before is the empty pupa shells around the garden.


There are 4 ‘instar’ stages in a ladybirds life.

First the eggs are laid, these will hatch within 4-10 days.

These eggs hatch in to larvae with tiny hair-like spines. Each species of ladybird larvae is slightly different. 7 spot ladybird larvae are black in colour with orange markings, whereas a two spot ladybird larvae is dark grey in colour.


ladybird larvae

The larva then sheds its skin and changes in to a pupa. Over a week to two weeks the body dissolves and then starts reforming as an adult beetle.


Ladybird pupa


The empty cases are left behind as the newly formed Ladybird emerges. Over the next few hours the wing casing hardens and the colour patterns being to become more prominent.

A few facts about Ladybirds

  • An adult ladybird can live for between 1 and 3 years.
  • Ladybirds hibernate or ‘overwinter’ from October through to February
  • Ladybirds are beetles, they have hard forewings (elytra) that  meet centrally without overlapping and they have biting mouthparts.
  • Ladybirds are eaten by some birds, spiders and predatory beetles
  • Ladybirds can secrete a fluid from joints in their legs which gives them a foul taste
  • Folklore says it has always been considered very unlucky to kill a ladybird



About Alex White - Appletonwild

This is my diary of the wildlife where I live in Oxfordshire, and sometimes the places I visit. My passion is for British wildlife, especially Badgers and Hares. This year my debut book "Get Your Boots On" was published I am a keen amateur photographer. All the photographs on this blog are taken by myself unless stated otherwise. I am a member of A Focus on Nature, the network for Young Nature Conservationists, BBOWT, The Oxon Mammal group and The Oxfordshire Badger Group. You can also follow me on Twitter @Appletonwild Instagram appletonwild
This entry was posted in Animals, Environment, garden, Get Your Boots On, insects, Local patch, nature, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, Wildlife photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ladybirds and their 4 stages

  1. Steve Staker says:

    I to have had a big increase in ladybird larva , in my garden this year too Alex . About a small percentage of them were eaten by spiders , when they were small larva , on my Apple tree . Which took me by surprise as I thought they maybe to tough a skin for spiders fangs to penetrate. Luckily a large number made it to adulthood. Also I managed to see a ladybird at the last stage developing into an adult drying it’s wing cases for the first time . I don’t know about you but I find ladybirds fascinating to watch . Good ladybird information on your wildlife diary .

    Liked by 1 person

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