BIO-1100 Principles of Biology
By Jozef Vandenmooter
Ladybug is the name commonly used to describe the Coccinellidae (which means clothed in scarlet), members of the Coleoptera, or beetle family. They are also known as Lady beetles, Ladybirds, Ladybird Beetles or Ladybird Bugs. The lady' referred to is the Virgin Mary. In German they are called Marienkafer, or Mary beetles. In Dutch we call them LieveHeersbeestjes, or Dear Lord Bugs. The reason they are given these names in folklore is that they are considered harbingers of good luck. Indeed, many species of ladybugs feed on pests, and have therefore been introduced in the environment deliberately on many occasions.
Depending on the species, ladybugs measure anywhere from .3 to 10mm in length. They have oval shaped bodies and are usually an orange to red color with black spots. The heads and legs are retractable. Ladybugs have six legs, three on each side. They have segmented antennae and they all have functional wings. There are about 400 different ladybug species in North America, and over 5,000 worldwide. Some of the most common ladybug varieties include the Two Spotted Ladybug, the Seven Spotted Ladybug, and the Thirteen Spotted Ladybug. In this mini-paper we will concentrate on the Coccinella septempunctata, or Sevenspotted Ladybug.
Ladybugs are found in a wide range of habitats and are common across the globe. They can be found in gardens, forests, fields, grasslands, and occasionally inside the house! In 1999 NASA even sent four ladybugs into space! Researchers wanted to know if aphids could escape from them in zero gravity. However, the ladybug was triumphant and it survived its perilous journey into space! The Sevenspotted Ladybug or Coccinella septempunctata, is from European origin. It first appeared in the U.S. in New Jersey, in the early 1970s, probably from an accidental introduction. Since then it was repeatedly introduced to North...
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