Another picture from right in my backyard! Unlike their pretty and popular adult form, ladybug larvae look a bit like they ought to be featuring as monsters in a horror movie, and they are indeed fearsome predators. (At least of the very tiny.) But just like grown up ladybugs these strange critters are the gardener’s friend, since their favorite prey are aphids. Another trait they have in common with adult lady beetles is their bright coloration. This aposematic, or warning, coloration serves to alert predators that they are not good to eat, due to the toxic chemicals they sequester in their bodies.
Lady beetles belong to the family Coccinellidae, which takes it name from the word coccus, meaning circular, due to the adult beetle’s nearly circular shape. They are also generally almost flat on the bottom, allowing them to draw their legs under their armored exoskeleton and fit almost perfectly against a plant surface when under attack.