Strange Lifecycle of the Ladybug

I'm sure you've seen ladybugs before, but what do you know of its life cycle? Turns out, the lifecycle of a ladybug is far, far stranger than you'd ever think:

The ladybug larva goes through several stages and is best described as looking something like an insect equivalent of a crocodile, only black and with (occasionally) orange markers. The larvae eat about twenty five aphids (or equivalent!) a day. That’s nothing to what the adult can get through – roughly about fifty. This is why many ladybugs are popular with farmers and gardeners.

In fact their name comes from a time in the Middle Ages when people thought that they were sent as a gift from the Virgin Mary to help with controlling pests.

It is not, as many people believe, a protogynous hermaphrodite. This is when an animal begins its life as a female. So, if you thought they were so named because the vast majority (or as some believe, all of them!) were female, then put that thought out of your mind!

Link (photo: Giles San Martin [Flickr])

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I hated those things, we had swarms of them every fall for several years in a row and they'd be all over the house, the ceilings, everywhere. One of the rumors was that they were dumping them out of planes by the bucket full to eat aphids and the population kind of exploded out of control. They haven't been as bad for the last few years though.
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