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ladybird or ladybug?

Ladybird or ladybug? There are many species of ladybird in Hong Kong and they are the most observed beetle species on iNaturalist.

this picture is the

Seven-spotted ladybug (Coccinella septempunctata)

Early british paintings often portrayed Mary (Our Lady) wearing a red cloak or veil and this common ladybird had spots that were said to symbolize her seven joys and seven sorrows. According to an old European legend, farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary asking for help to save them from the pests devouring their crops, so these tiny red beetles where her answer and their saviour.

The two-banded ladybird beetle has a thick red band on each wing case/elytra. The ten-spotted ladybird has seven spots. Just kidding, it has ten spots. Of course, the seven-spotted ladybird has seven spots. The six-banded ladybird has four or six red bands on a black background. There is also a thirteen-spotted ladybird beetle (not to be confused with the thirteen-spotted leaf beetle, which is very similar but more elongated and oval, and less red).

Ladybirds from the family Coccinellidae Latreille, and sometimes called Ladybugs  but these insects are actually not true bugs but beetles, so technically you should call them ladybird beetles rather than ladybugs.

Their bodies are hemispherical, circular or oval and dome-shaped, and flat underneath. To avoid predation, the head can tuck (entirely or in part) beneath the pronotum (the shoulder-like or neck-like part between the head and the shell-like forewings, or the elytra). The ladybird’s bright colours act as an important defence mechanism, warning animals they taste disgusting. When threatened, the bugs secrete an oily, yucky yellow fluid from joints in their legs... how weird is that? Remember, ladybugs aren't true bugs at all, they're beetles. Don’t we all love ladybirds?

this bug has many different names....

  • Germany: Marienkäfer (Mary’s beetle)

  • France: la bete a bon Dieu (good God’s animal)

  • Russia: Bozhya korovka (God’s little cow)

  • Greece: paschalitsa (little Easter)

  • Portugal: joaninha (little Joanne)

  • Spain: mariquita (little Maria)

  • Wales: buwch goch gota (small red cow)

  • Scotland: daolag-bhreac (speckled beetle)

  • Slovenia: pikapolonica (spotty bug)

  • Argentina: Vaquita de San Antonio (St. Anthony’s small cow)

The family’s scientific name Coccinellidae is derived from the word coccineus in Latin, which means “scarlet”.


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