"Ladybug" is a name that commonly refers to the little ladybird beetle, of which there are over 5,000 known species worldwide. Although they vary widely in size and color, all ladybugs share the same basic body structure.
Ladybugs are small oval-shaped insects in the beetle family that can range in size from 1 mm to 10 mm in length, although most average between 4 and 8 mm (or about 1/4 inch). Females are larger than males.
Ladybugs have the same body parts common to other insects: a head, a thorax and an abdomen with three pairs of jointed legs, one pair of wings, one pair of antennae, compound eyes, and a small mandible/mouth all surrounded by a hard exoskeleton made of chitin.
The elytra is a hard, shell-like wing covering that protects the ladybug's delicate wings. The elytra opens up to reveal the wings when the beetle flies. The elytra is usually red or orange with black spots.
Often mistaken for the ladybug's head, the pronotum is the small area above the elytra that protects the beetle's actual head underneath. The pronotum is usually black with small gray areas that look like eyes.
- Photo Credit (cc) Neeku on Flickr
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