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4 Stages of a Ladybug's Life

        Animals | Insects

1
Adult
A seven-spotted ladybug enjoys Provencal lavender.
A seven-spotted ladybug enjoys Provencal lavender.
Cornelia Doerr/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

A new ladybug adult is soft-winged and lighter in color than it will be in the future. After putting the pupal skin aside, it takes a couple of days for those vibrant wing covers to take their final (harder) form. Once the exoskeleton is hard, the ladybug can fly, displaying its new (usually red and black) wings for the world.

Another physical change you've probably noticed in an adult ladybug is that sometimes it leaves a yellow liquid on your hand. Did it pee on you? No -- that's hemolymph, blood that the ladybug secretes from its leg joints to tell you (and other would-be ladybug predators) to back off.

Aphids, mealybugs, insect eggs, pollen: It's time for this adult lady beetle to eat. Only after a period of feeding does mating begin -- and then the cycle starts all over again, with some little eggs.

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