The Seven-spotted Lady Beetle is a dome-shaped garden friend because its spiky larvae remove aphids before plants suffer.
This small beetle may be mostly red, or shades of orange. Seven black dots can be counted on the eltyra (wing coverings) when they are closed: three sit on the top of the beetle, forming a triangle, and each side has two more. Small white patches sit on either side of the central black dot. The black pronotum has a large white patch by the head on each side, and the face also has a pair of white dots on it. While the adult form is charming to look at, the larval form causes curiosity.
Lady Beetle larvae look nothing like the adult. The general shape of the body is similar to a spiky, armored alligator, and it is not commonly recognized as a young lady beetle. The Seven-spotted Lady Beetle larva has orange spots on its black body. Each segment on the long, tapered abdomen has a set of bumps on it. Six black legs near the head are large and protrude from under the long juvenile. They help the larva move quickly over a plant as it chases down smaller aphids and eats them. This larva is so good at controlling pest aphid populations that deliberate introduction from their native Europe to North America was attempted many times. Aphids are fast reproducing, plant-sucking insects that harm a plant's appearance and health. Established populations of this beetle can protect crops and ornamental plants from aphid infestations. Eventually, the Seven-spotted Lady Beetle adapted to life on this continent, and it can now be found in every part of it. When spying Lady Beetles in the garden, be sure to count the black spots and notice their arrangement before taking measures to remove them. This is a beneficial species to have around.
Scientific Name: Coccinella septempunctata
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 8mm (0.23in to 0.31in)
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Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.