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(invertebrate zoology)
The ladybird beetles, a family of coleopteran insects in the superfamily Cucujoidea.



a family of beetles. The body is convex, rounded, or oval. The coloration consists of various combinations of red, yellow, white, and black, with mostly black spots on a light background, or, more rarely, the reverse. The body is usually 4 to 7 mm long. The beetles are easily noticed because of their bright “protective” coloration, which is the same in the larvae and pupae. When touched, they secrete drops of a caustic orange hemolymph from the knee joints. The beetles are inedible for the majority of insectivorous invertebrates. The beetles and larvae are predators and extremely voracious; they feed on aphids, scale insects, and other small insects. A few species are herbivorous. There are approximately 2,000 species. They are distributed in all the countries of the world; in the European part of the USSR there are about 80 species. The predatory species are useful, whereas several herbivorous species are harmful. For example, the melon ladybug (Epilachna chrysomelina) harms melon crops in the south of Russia, and the 28-spotted ladybug (E. vigintioctomaculata) damages potatoes in the Far East. Predatory ladybugs are used in combating scale insects. In Abkhazia, the imported Australian ladybug (Rodolia cardinalis) and Cryptolaemus mon-trouzieri suppressed the reproduction of the dangerous citrus crop pests, the fluted scale and the citrus mealybug, as well as the cushion scale. In the USSR local ladybugs are also used to combat aphids. Ladybugs are collected to be released where there are many aphids. The collection of ladybugs is facilitated by the fact that they often hibernate in large piles (under rocks and pulvinate shrubs, for example).


Telenga, N. A. Biologicheskii metod bor’by s vrednymi nasekomymi (khishchnye koktsinellidy i ispol’zovanie ikh ν SSSR). Kiev, 1948.
Diadechko, N. P. Koktsinellidy Ukrainskoi SSR. Kiev, 1954.
Biologicheskaia bor’ba s vrednymi nasekomymi i sorniakami. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from English.)


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