The Coccinellidae or popularly the ladybug, is an insect from the Coleoptera family, which are also from the Cucujoidea super family. These tiny insects have many names around the world, but as mentioned above, the most common is "Ladybug". Below you will be able to discover absolutely everything related to this interesting little insect.
Ladybugs are one of the most easily recognizable insects and, above all, quite appreciated by farmers. The first thing that enters people's heads when they think of this insect is its main and most striking feature, its round back with a vibrant red color and small round black spots. Despite this, there are still many varieties, which have colors other than red. These Coccinellidae often eat aphids, which makes them extremely useful.
This small and unique insect has different names or nicknames depending on the country where it is and depending on the variation. The most common popularly are: ladybird, vaquita de San Antonio, catita, chinita, in Chile, specifically in the north and also in the north of Argentina, it is called catita; petita in several areas around the south of the province of Buenos Aires, it is also called ladybug in most Spanish-speaking countries, we can highlight here Spain, Puerto Rico, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Panama , Nicaragua, among others.
In Venezuela and in parts of Spain it is called "coco", saratontón or sanantonito in the Canary Islands; Ladybug in Mexico, San Antonio in Uruguay, and also Tortolita in Guatemala.
These small insects can be seen absolutely anywhere on the planet, even in the field they are quite easy to see, since they do not avoid being seen. They regularly tend to climb to the top of the leaves. There are approximately 6.000 genera and 360 species. These are always located on leaves, where they find their victims, such as aphids or aphids.
They reproduce by being attached to tree branches, trunks or leaves, they regularly tend to spend more time on the leaves. These lay small yellow eggs, which are placed one by one, or in small groups on the stems or leaves of plants, almost always near a colony of aphids, which is their main food.
After a week, small larvae emerge from these eggs, which have six tiny legs, which have great mobility. Some of these larvae are slightly spiny or warty, of a strong black color with small white or orange spots, although the variety of colors is infinite depending on the species.
The small larvae go through four stages before becoming pupae, which would be the adolescence of these small insects. The pupae always stick to leaves, stems, or some rocks; they are also black or red. They can even be confused with bird droppings. Starting from this pupa, it becomes an adult, being quite yellowish in color, since the final colors with which the ladybug will remain in its adulthood have not yet been defined, despite the fact that these final colors appear a few hours later.
It is worth mentioning that these eggs can also be laid in large quantities, up to 400 eggs per clutch, which end up hatching between March and April. At the time of winter, a fairly large group of these insects gather to hibernate together, and likewise protect themselves from the cold, also at the end of winter due to this proximity, it helps them a lot to reproduce more easily. It is said that these small insects usually live on average for a single year, although it all depends on the species, there are some of these that can live up to three years.
Ladybugs are very loved by farmers, as they are great predators of aphids, mealybugs, mites, fly larvae, or other annoying agricultural pests. Regularly, the adults maintain the same diet as the pupae, but some may consume pollen, nectar or even fungi. It is thought that a ladybug can consume more than a thousand of these tiny animals in a single summer, taking into account that a female can lay up to a million offspring, we will realize the appreciation that farmers have for her.
In many parts of the world these ladybugs are used as a form of biological control for pests, since they work perfectly as a natural insecticide, without using a single chemical product.
The only exception to this rule is a subfamily of ladybugs, which is called Epilachninae, as they are herbivores, feeding on leaves, grains or seeds of various crop species. These are not considered a pest, but the number of them can grow exponentially when their enemies, the parasitoid wasps, become very scarce in the environment where they are found, in this case they could cause quite serious damage to crops. They can be found anywhere in the world with very temperate and tropical climates.
It should be noted that the main predators of all ladybugs are wasps, some birds, frogs and even dragonflies. Despite having a good number of potential predators, these insects are known to have an unpleasant taste, which protects them from all these threats.
Interestingly, in the 1999th century, in 93, a project was carried out which was proposed by a group of students from a high school in Chile, a medium-sized colony of these ladybugs was taken into space. These were part of a mission called STS-XNUMX of the Columbia shuttle, these ladybugs were added to a study on the behavior of plants and different arthropods in microgravity environments.
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