The Harlequin Ladybird Survey
Harlequin ladybird elytra
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Ladybirds are beetles (Order: Coleoptera) and so possess two characteristics that distinguish them from insects of other orders: hard forewings (elytra) that cover the abdomen and meet centrally, and biting mouthparts.

The ladybird family within the beetle group is called the Coccinellidae. Coccinellids can be recognised by a number of general features:

7-spot ladybird and droplet on leaf © the Natural History Museum, London
  • Small to medium sized beetles (1-10 mm or about 1/16 to 3/4 inch long)
  • Usually round or oval in shape
  • Elytra are often brightly coloured and patterned
  • Short, clubbed antennae
  • Pronotum (structure between the head and the elytra) is broader than long; extends forward at the margins and is often patterned
  • Short legs that are retractable under the body
  • Feet ( tarsi ) that have four segments but the third is so small that only three are easily visible
Learn the names of ladybird bodyparts...
Line drawing - upper side © Mike Majerus

Line drawing - under side © Mike Majerus