Common name:Ladybird beetles.
Geographical distribution: The family, which is world-wide in distribution, contains about 5,000 named species, of whom more than 100 are known from the Middle East.
Morphology: The body of the adult beetle is convex, round to oval, the dorsum often being black with red spots or red with black spots, or just blackish. The head is at times partially hidden by the pronotum and the antennae usually consist of 11 segments. The body of the larvae is brownish with brighter spots, and often bears spines or tubercles.
Life cycle: These beetles are mostly predatory, its larvae and adults feeding on the same prey in the same habitats. The prey being aphids (Aphidoidea), mites (Acari), scale insects (Coccoidea), or other prey. During periods of food scarcity they may be cannibalistic and also subsist on pollen and nectar. When attacked the larvae and adults may secrete a sticky repellent. Many species raise 3-4 annual generations in the Middle East, some hiding or migrating to higher altitudes for their winter diapause sojourn. The females may produce several hundred progeny and live for over two months. Members of the subfamily Epilachnidae (i.e. Epilachna chrysomelina) re .
Economic importance: This family contains important natural enemies of plant pests, the best known being the vedalia beetle, Rodolia cardinalis, whose introduction into California from Australia in the late 19th century ushered in the era of biological control. Several predatory species were introduced into the Middle East for this purpose. Harmonia axyridis feeds on several prey, but may also damage various fruits, especially grapes. Members of the subfamily Epilachnidae (i.e. Epilachna chrysomelina) feed on crops and may be pests.
Lady beetles included in this compendium
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