The creature pictured in last week’s puzzler is the larva of a LADYBUG! Also called Ladybird Beetles, these insects are common and probably everyone has heard of and can recognize a ladybug! I bet you didn’t know it looked like that before it became an adult!
Their name is deceiving because they are not bugs at all. As I mentioned in a previous post about lightning bugs, All bugs are insects but all insects are not bugs. A bug is simply a kind of insect in the same way a dragonfly or wasp or ant are other kinds of insects. We tend to just call all small creatures with 6 or 8 or more legs, bugs but this is technically incorrect. Ladybugs are actually a kind of beetle and in the United States there are over 300 different kinds of ladybugs! Some don’t even have spots and others are not red.
Just like the adults of each species look different, so do the babies, or larvae. Ladybird beetles go through complete metamorphosis meaning they have 4 stages: egg-larva-pupa-adult. They will spend 7-21 days in the first three stages and then 3-9 months as adults. Do you know what their bright red colors “say” to potential predators?
Do you know how many eggs a female might lay in her lifetime or why gardeners love to see them in their gardens? What do they eat and why do they gather in your house in the fall? Click HERE to read about them in the Creature Feature for the week.
Until then, Happy Weekend! If you want, test your knowledge on the next puzzler.