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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- Bessin, Ric. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. Last revised January 2007. (Accessed May 15, 2009)http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef105.asp
- Cranshaw, W.S. "Lady Beetles." Colorado State University Extension. November 2006. (Accessed May 19, 2009)http://www.ext.colostate.edu/PUBS/INSECT/05594.html
- Cunningham, Alexander et al. "Lady Beetles of Nebraska." University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension. (Accessed May 19, 2009)http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/ec1780/build/ec1780.pdf
- Frank, J. Howard and Russell F. Mizell. "Featured creatures: ladybug." University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. November 2000. Last revised November 2006. (Accessed May 15, 2009)http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/beneficial/lady_beetles.htm
- Thomas, Lesley. "Coccinella septempunctata." University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Animal Web. 2001. (Accessed May 18, 2009)http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Coccinella_septempunctata.html
- Weeden, Catherine, Anthony M. Shelton and Michael P. Hoffmann. "Lady Beetles." "Biological Control: A Guide to Natural Enemies in North America." Cornell University. (Accessed May 18, 2009)http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/ent/biocontrol/predators/ladybintro.html
Bees get a lot of credit for pollinating important food crops, but they get a lot of secret help from their nocturnal friends, the moths.