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How to Manage Pests

Identification: Natural Enemies Gallery

Sevenspotted lady beetle

Scientific name: Coccinella septempunctata

Life stages of Coccinella septempunctata

Click on image to enlarge

Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Coccinellidae

Common hosts: Many species of aphids such as pea, cowpea, green peach, potato, corn leaf, and melon aphids

Commercially available: No

Lady beetles are easily recognized by their shiny, convex, half-dome shape and short, clubbed antennae. Most lady beetles, including this species, are predaceous as both larvae and adults. Young lady beetle larvae usually pierce and suck the contents from their prey. Older larvae and adults chew and consume their entire prey. Larvae are active, elongate, have long legs, and resemble tiny alligators. Many lady beetles look alike and accurate identification requires a specialist. Coccinella species are a major group of aphid-feeding lady beetles, with about 12 species of Coccinella occurring in the United States.

DESCRIPTION      Life Cycle

The adult Coccinella septempunctata is relatively large, 0.28 to 0.31 inch (7-8 mm), and has a white to pale spot on either side of the head. Its thorax is black with white along the front margin. There are seven large black spots on its red or orangish wing covers, which may have some white near the front. Larvae are alligator shaped and range from 0.28 to 0.31 inch (7-8 mm) in length. Metamorphosis is complete. The pupal stage duration is temperature dependent, lasting between 3 and 12 days. Eggs are spindle shaped and small, about 0.04 inch (1 mm long).

C. septempunctata undergoes complete metamorphosis. In spring, overwintering adults emerge from protected sites near fields where they fed and reproduced in the previous season. After feeding on aphids, a female will start depositing eggs, generally laying them near prey, in small clusters on protected sites found on leaves and stems. In a one to three month period the female can lay from 200 to over 1,000 small (about 0.04 inch or 1 mm) eggs.


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