The Color of Ladybugs – Explained

If you enjoy reading this article, why not check out our articles on What Can Ladybugs Damage? The surprising answer and The Color Of Ladybugs article.

The Meanings of the Colors of Ladybugs

When I was a kid, the ladybugs in the backyard were red, docile and friendly. However, a new orange ladybug was introduced to help control another pest. These orange ones were actually aggressive and would pinch for any reason. As a few years went by, the red ladybug ones started coming back and it had me wondering.

How many colors do ladybugs come in and what are the differences between them?

Ladybugs are commonly described as red and black insects.  On the contrary, they come in a variety of other colors too such as

  • Yellow ladybug
  • Orange ladybug
  • Black ladybug
  • Grey ladybug
  • Blue ladybug

Their colors indicate their toxicity level to defend themselves from their enemies. 

Why are ladybugs so colorful? 

There are 6000 different species of ladybugs recorded worldwide. They come in different sizes ranging from 0.03 to 0.71 inches. Often they are colored yellow, orange or red with black dots on their backs. However, they come in a multitude of colors depending on their species. In this article, you will learn about the various colors of ladybugs and species that are specific to these colors. We also talk about how ladybugs’ vibrant colors can be warning signs to predators in our article What Are Boy/Male Ladybugs Called?

The Reason Behind The Rainbow of Ladybugs

The ladybug’s colors are a survival adaptation that frequently encourages their enemies to stay away. The ladybug’s color denotes its toxicity to predators. The brighter and more vibrant the color, the more toxic the smell and taste is for its enemies.

Are Rainbow ladybugs real?

When it looks a little duller, it is more likely to be an older ladybug, since their color and spots fade with age. The reason ladybugs have such brilliant red coloring and black spots are to warn their predators that they taste really bad and that they are a little bit poisonous. 

Ladybugs are not poisonous when it comes to humans. The smell that they release is only poisonous when it comes to their enemies such as other insects and animals. This article will talk about the different colors that they come in as well as the meaning of each color.

The Group Of Yellow Ladybugs

Yellow ladybugs have different species. The black spots on their backs are how you determine what their species are. The design and color of ladybugs have been changing for years. The different strains in changing colors and designs largely mix with their habitats, potential danger, and climates. 

Here are three different types of yellow ladybugs and their description as well as where they can be found:

  • 14 Spotted Lady Beetle
  • 22 Spotted Lady Beetle
  • 16 Spotted Lady Beetle
  • Orange Ladybugs 
  • Black Ladybugs
  • Grey Ladybug
  • Blue Ladybugs
  • Purple Ladybugs
  • Green Ladybugs
  • Gold-Like Colored Ladybugs
  • Spotted Cucumber Beetle
  • New Ladybird Beetle

14 Spotted Ladybug

How to identify?

The 14 spotted ladybugs are known as Propylea Quatuordecimpunctata. They usually have four to eight black spots on their backs. There is also some time where the black spots ‘melt’ into their yellow color background which sometimes creates an anchor on their Elytra. 

There are also times where the spots can almost be rectangular and can also have a checker’s board effect. The yellow ladybug lives in different habitats such as forests, woodlands, and meadows. Just like any other ladybugs, they are omnivores and eat different types of food.

Where it is found?

You can find the yellow ladybugs across Europe, North Africa and almost all of Asia, stretching up to the Arctic boundaries and through to the far east.  

For more information about different types of ladybugs, check out Can You Keep Ladybugs As Pets?

22 Spotted Ladybugs

How many spots can a 22 spotted ladybird have?

How to identify?

The 22 spotted ladybugs are also known as the Psyllobora Vigintimaculata. As the name indicates, this type of ladybug has 22 spots on their backs. The 22 spotted ladybugs are typically small measuring 0.11 to 0.18 inches in length. It has a bright yellow back with 22 distinctively round black spots.

Where it is found?

These types of yellow ladybugs can be found in grasslands, gardens, as well as towns, and parks. They usually feed on mildew and they love hogweeds. These yellow ladybugs can be found in the West part of the world. 

It can be found across North America, Alaska, Canada, and Mexico. However, it is more common to find them in England, Western Asia, and some parts of the Middle East

16 Spotted Ladybugs

How to identify?

Just like the 14 spotted ladybugs, they have black spots down where the wings meet along the centerline. Sometimes their spots melt together and it forms a line along each of their sides. The 16 spotted ladybugs can be found in sand and dunes type of areas, and grasslands. Have you ever wondered if ladybug spots tell their age? Find out by reading Do Ladybug Spots Tell Their Age?

Where it is found?

They can also be found in dry or even marshy meadows as well as during the warmer times of the year. These types of ladybugs feed on pollen, nectars, and fungi. It has also been known that they feed on mites, thrips, and aphids.

During Winter, these types of species can gather in large numbers around trees and other woods such as posts, fences or logs during their hibernation. They can be found across Europe, East, and West Asia, as well as the far East and some parts of the Middle East.

Seeing a yellow ladybug signals adventure and travels to different or far places. It is also a sign of love or a new chapter in your life. 

Halyzia Sedecimguttata: Orange Ladybugs 

By ©entomartIn case of publication or commercial use, Entomart wishes then to be warned (http://www.entomart.be/contact.html), but this without obligation. Thank you., Attribution, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=480220

How to identify?

Orange ladybugs are known as the Halyzia Sedecimguttata. The orange ladybugs have a cream spots on its back. They usually have 14 to 16 cream spots that run along their backs. They are usually oval-shaped with 0.19 – 0.20 inches measured in length.

Aside from their cream spot on their backs, they also have orange-colored spots on their head covering which is called the pronotum. One great distinctive that they have is the transparent edges on their bodies. Their colors help them blend with their surroundings in their habitat area.

Where it is found?

The orange ladybugs are commonly found in Europe and they are increasing in numbers. They feed on powdery white mildew that forms on surfaces of leaves. An adult orange ladybug, however, infests on trees and bushes, and occasionally they may feed on aphids as well.

In the past, the orange ladybugs are known to feed off of ancient woodland but they eventually adapted to feed on Sycamore and Ash. Just like any other ladybugs, if they land on you it is believed that you will have good luck in your life.

Harmonia Axyridis: Black Ladybugs 

By Rasbak - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=916304

How to identify?

Black ladybugs are part of the multicolored groups of ladybugs called the Harlequin ladybirds and Harmonia Axyridis. These types of ladybugs are one of the most invasive insects in the world. They were first imported from Asia to North America around the 1980s in order to control aphids that were feeding on plants.

Unlike other ladybugs who stick to eating aphids, the Harlequin ladybirds do not stick to one food. Once these types of ladybugs finished eating aphids, they would move on to other ladybird’s eggs and larvae. They even feed on moths and butterflies’ eggs and caterpillars.

These black ladybugs pose a threat to other ladybugs species since they have such an appetite. They can easily eat all of the food of other ladybugs that feed on aphids. This is the main reason why the two spot ladybugs are scarce.

Are black ladybugs poisonous?

They may not be dangerous to humans, however, during the Winter season they tend to hibernate in houses and other buildings. There are many cases that people find a whole lot of black ladybugs in their homes. When Spring comes around, they find their way out of the building and houses to become active again.

Where it is found?

The black ladybugs are now established in North America, Europe, Africa, and across South America. Just like any other ladybugs, black ladybugs are a symbol of fortune and prosperity. 

Olla v-nigrum: The Grey Ladybug

courtesy of noricum https://www.flickr.com/photos/noricum/3709290076

These are known as the Ashy Grey Lady Beetle and they can have from two to fifteen black spots. They are usually found in the North America region. They are also believed to be seen in some parts of South America

These Ashy Grey Lady Beetle also comes in another color which is all black with two red spots. This black red ladybug is called ‘twice stabbed lady beetle’ because of the two red spots on its back that looks like wounds. 

Now, these types of ladybugs bite whenever they feel threatened by humans. They will also bite you if they mistake your warm hand for a soft-bodied insect. However, their bites are not harmful to humans. This would only cause irritation and a bit of itching. If you do have a severe or an allergic reaction, it is best to see your doctor.

Just like your ordinary ladybugs, they also feed on aphids in their daily lives. The grey colored ladybug is believed to bring happiness, awareness, and prosperity into your life. 

Halmus Chalybeus: Blue Ladybugs

By Graham Wise from Brisbane, Australia - Halmus chalybeus, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44582017
Steelblue Ladybird

Where it is found?

These blue ladybugs are also known as the Halmus Chalybeus. They can be found in Australia and New Zealand. They are usually described as blue-green or blue metallic with translucent around the edges. They are commonly found in backyards, orchards, fields, and parks

The Steel blue ladybugs have the main distinction between male and female species, unlike your ordinary ladybugs, it is hard to tell. The male minor has an orange color in the head area. Where the female is the same color throughout their body.

Both males and females do not have any spots on their backs. However, their shells are the same as the regular ladybugs. These species feed on lice, scale insects, and moth eggs. The Steel Blue ladybugs hibernate from May to September.

During this time, they are known to gather in groups under tree bark and other areas to shelter from the cold weather. They usually come out during Spring and they are set to find food as well as mate with other ladybugs.

Unlike the other color of ladybugs, the Steel Blue ladybugs have the same meaning as any other ladybugs. They symbolize love, luck, and prosperity.

Mythical Ladybugs

The Myth of Purple Ladybugs 

This is another color that there are no official findings that they exist. However, there has been a buzz about purple ladybugs over the internet. It was first becoming a talk of people back in March 2015. There was a Facebook page called Discovering Our Wonderful World.

They stated that there were purple ladybugs, and they are fifteen spotted. It also stated on the page that it was only found in Hawaii. They did show pictures of purple ladybugs, however, it has been edited. However, this page no longer exists on Facebook.

How to identify?

The fifteen spotted ladybug that they were talking about was originally colored red or orange with black spots. However, we never know what nature can bring us. There may be a time in the future where purple ladybugs do exist.

As of now, this story is false and it has not been proven scientifically that they exist.

Some Ladybugs Have a Green Phase 

There are no green ladybugs that exists within the ladybug family. However, a ladybug that is in its pupa stage may not have its final identifying colors and often does not have any spots yet. In the right setting, the pupa might have appeared in very pale green.

Green ladybugs in this form do not have any spots, and it will not last for long. The color green on ladybugs usually only last for about 24 hours. Once the shell has dried and hardened into its natural color it will be permanent throughout their lifespan. This time the spots will appear on their backs.

If in any case that you see this color on ladybugs, it might be that they are on this stage. The green beetle is often mistaken for a green ladybug. They are a little bit similar to the shape and size of ladybugs.

Gold-Like Colors of Ladybugs

How to identify?

The gold color is another one that does not exist when it comes to ladybugs. These types of insects are called the golden tortoise beetle. They come in different colors such as reddish-brown, gold, and metallic with black spots. This is where the ‘goldbug’ nickname comes from.

Where it is found?

They are often mistaken for ladybugs because of their body structure and size. They can also be found munching on plants throughout the world. These beetles are common in North America and can be often found in backyards that have plants such as sweet potatoes and morning glory.

These beetles are not usually golden they change colors throughout the season and their mood. They have a transparent shell and the liquid that is beneath the shell is the one that changes colors. If the golden beetle feels threatened it will release the toxic liquid. 

Conclusion

Ladybugs have different numbers of species and to determine their species it is based on their color. Some colors that ladybugs come in are yellow, orange, black, grey, and blue. There are misconceptions that purple and green ladybugs exist.

However, it has not been scientifically proven that they exist. Most of the species consist of black spots that are placed on the ladybug’s back. Each ladybug species can be found in different locations. Some ladybugs bite if they feel threatened, such as the Ash Grey Lady Beetle.

If you are planning to take care of ladybugs, knowing their colors would be great. It will help you determine the food that they eat as well as their behavior. 

If you enjoyed reading this article, why not check out our articles on What Are Boy/Male Ladybugs Called? and What Can Ladybugs Damage? The surprising answer

If you enjoyed reading this article, then please share it out on social media. It helps promote the site and keeps me motivated to produce the best articles I can.

All the best

Steve

ps If you’re interested in reading more about the color of insects, why not check out our Color Of Ladybugs article.

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

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