Field Guide
Red Chilocorus
Steel Blue Ladybird
Minute Two-spotted
Mealybug Ladybird
Yellow Shouldered
Transverse Ladybird
Variable Ladybird 1
Variable Ladybird 2 
Variable Ladybird 3
Common Spotted
Three-banded Ladybird
Netty Ladybird
Striped Ladybird
Spotted Amber
28-spotted Potato
26-spotted Potato
Large Leafeating Ladybird
Other Ladybirds



This page contains information and pictures about Ladybird Beetles that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Ladybird Beetles are also known as Ladybugs and Lady Beetles. The adults are oval domed in shape, range in length from about 1 mm to 10 mm depending upon species. Females in general are a little larger than males. Like all other beetles, their hard forewings cover the membranous hind wings and protect the abdomen. Their legs and their clubbed antenna are short, which are usually hidden beneath their bodies when disturbed.
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Ant, aphid and two ladybirds                                Larva captured an aphid
Most Ladybird species, both adults and larvae, are predators. They feed on very small insects such as aphids, scale insects and mite. Both adults and larvae may be found on the same plants feeding on the same species of prey. They may consume flower nectar, water and honeydew from aphids as supplement. However, a few ladybird species are plants eaters.
In a early summer day, we found totally there were eight species of Ladybirds on the same small plant actively looking for prey. 
Please check our Ladybirds Field Guide which listed most of the common species in Brisbane.

Ladybird Life Cycle 

Ladybirds are complete metamorphosis. Females lay clusters of 10 to 50 yellow spindle shaped eggs on plants near their food source, such as aphids or other soft bugs. Newly hatched larvae are gray or black and less than 4 mm long. Later stage larvae can be gray, black, or dark blue with bright yellow or orange markings on the body. Their larvae undergo four instars before pupating. 
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Batch of yellow eggs laid near aphids                     Ladybird larvae, just hatched                               Ladybird larvae, 10mm                  
Ladybird beetles develop rapidly. The larva emerges from the eggs about 1-2 weeks. The larva reaches maturity within 2 weeks. Pupation takes place on plants where the larva fed and the adult emerges from the pupa after 1-2 weeks. 
As their adults, the larvae have long sharp mandibles and feed on small insects. The larvae are elongate and slightly oblong in shape. They are usually patterned with colours similar to their parents, and many are adorned with spines. The pupae are usually brightly patterned and can be found attached to the leaves and stems of plants where larvae have fed and developed. 
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Ladybird pupa 
Among the four discrete stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult, only the adult stage is very mobile. Adult beetles have the wings for flight, covering large distances to find new food sources and mating partners. Compare to most other insects, the adult stage of ladybirds is very long, in term of months.
Adults mate within a few days after emergence. Females lay eggs in the follows weeks and the new life cycle starts again. Most ladybird species that feed on aphids are one generation per year. They reproduce in spring when the prey is abundant. Some other species may be two, three or more generations per years. 
For more information on ladybird life cycle, please visit our Common Spotted Ladybird page. 

Ladybirds' Defence 

Most Ladybird Beetles are brightly colored. This is a warning signal to tell the predator that the ladybirds are distasteful and toxic. When disturbed some ladybirds may emit a strong smelling yellow liquid as a deterrent against predators.
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When ladybirds sense the danger, such as ants or spiders come close to them, they hide their legs and antenna under their body, and hold tight on where they sit. 
For other large predators, such as birds or human, come close, they slide to the edge of the leaf and drop to the ground. Or they run to the edge of the leaf and fly away. 
We always put our hand under the leaf before we approach to a ladybird. The ladybird will drop onto our hand, it usually hides its legs and antenna under its body. After a while, when its feel there is no danger, it will walk around on our hand, some will fly away very soon. This is all right to handle Ladybird Beetles by bare hand (not recommended for other insects), they do not bite.
For more information about insects defence and insects behavior, please visit this page.

Ladybirds' natural predators

We do not notice if any predator specially targeting on adults ladybird beetles. However, they do have predators which feed on their soft- bodied larvae. The picture shows a Assassin bug feeding the ladybird larvae on a Milkweed plant. We found this bug when we studying the ladybird larvae as predator on aphids. Somehow the ladybird larvae became the prey. 
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Following is the list of ladybirds that we found in Brisbane. We followed Ślipiński' 2007 for the classification. All ladybird beetles we found are in subfamily Coccinellinae. They are grouped into different tribes as follows;
Tribe Chilocorini
Chilocorin ladybirds feed on different type of scale insects. They are shiny colour and usually have no dots nor patterns on their wing-covers. They are medium in size. 
Tribe Diomini
Tribe Coccidulini
Ladybirds in this group are small to medium size, covered with short hairs. They feed on scale insects, aphids and spider mites.
Tribe Coccinellini
The Coccinellin ladybirds are medium to large size ladybirds that are shiny and often have bright spots. They feed on thrips, aphids and other small insects. Some species feed on fungi. 
Tribe Epilachnini 
Unlike other ladybird beetles, all species in this group are phytophagous. Both larvae and adults feed on plants. Some are considered as pests on agricultural crops. They are relatively large in size, covered with short hairs. 

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 658.
2. Australian Ladybird Beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) Their biology and classification - A.Ślipiński, Australian Biological Resources, 2007.
3. Coccinellidae - (Ladybirds or Ladybeetles) - L E E P Y - L I Z A R D ' s (Insect Pages).
4. Ladybugs - Web page, University of Florida, February 2004.
5. Ladybird beetles - Coccinellidae - Transvaal Museum.
6. The London and Essex Ladybird Surveys - PAUL MABBOTT, 2005.
7. Killer Ladybirds - Scribbly Gum, ABC 2005.
8. Predatory Beetles - Some other important natural enemies, www.goodbugs.org.au
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Ladybirds Field Guide ] Tribe Chilocorini ] Tribe Diomini ] Tribe Coccidulini ] Tribe Coccinellini ] Tribe Epilachnini ] Other Ladybirds ]


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Last updated: August 21, 2013.