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.

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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.

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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.

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Ladybird pupa

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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

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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. I am a keen amateur photographer using a Canon SX60 HS. 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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