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Life Stages


Life Cycle





Ladybugs aren't so cute when they're born—you may not even recognize them. They hatch from eggs and look like tiny alligators. The new bug is called a larva, and it takes about 21 days for it to grow up to be a ladybug beetle.


Mother ladybugs lay ten to fifteen eggs on the underside of a leaf. They look like tiny, elongated, yellow jelly beans.
Ladybug Eggs Under a Leaf
Ladybug Larva Larva

Larvae crawl out of their eggs and begin to look for food. Mother bugs make sure there are lots of aphids or mites nearby because the larvae will eat a lot of them before they become adults. They look like tiny alligators--and they bite!
Bigger Larva

After a few days, the little larvae begin to grow, and soon they shed their skins. This is called "moulting" and it happens several times. If you look closely you can see old skins clinging to leaves or to the grass in your ladybug jar.
Ladybug Larva
Ladybug Pupa Pupa

In about two weeks, the bigger larvae begin to look a little different, something like a lobster without legs and claws. They attach themselves to a leaf and hardly move at all. They are doing something extraordinary under their skins.
Imago or Adult

In another few days the ladybug splits its pupa and emerges looking very different. For the first few hours it's pale and soft. Its shell quickly hardens. Its color becomes a bright color. Now it looks just like its mother—a perfect adult ladybug. What seems like amazing magic is one wonderful way the natural world works: ladybug metamorphosis.
Adult Ladybug!


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December 2008


Created by Melinda Peters