How Many Legs Does A Ladybug Have? Anatomy And Fun Facts

Anusuya Mukherjee
Feb 29, 2024 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Nov 04, 2021
Asian Lady Beetle crawling on a green leaf.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

A famous springtime image is a ladybug strolling along a plant stem, searching for food.

We often find them in our books of nursery rhymes and even folklore across the world. Of all of the creepy crawlies, ladybugs are the most cherished and revered.

Ladybugs are a set of beetles that are additionally called ladybird beetles or female beetles. A ladybug is also considered a symbol of good luck. They look like oval or dome-shaped, small, colorful creatures. Their bodies may have spots or even no markings.

Worldwide, ladybugs are visible as omens of luck. In England, some people believe that locating a ladybug means there may be a good harvest. In Sweden, some think that if a ladybug lands on a young lady's hand, then it is thought that she is going to get married soon. Ladybugs are official insects of some regions like Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Keep reading to know interesting, fun facts about ladybugs, their anatomy, how many legs a ladybug has, and many things too.

After reading about this group of insects in this article, do check out how many legs do spiders have and how many legs do cockroaches have.

Anatomy Of Ladybugs

We have all seen ladybugs but never noticed or knew that these ladybugs have eight parts in their anatomy, and each of them has a significant purpose of its own.

It is basically a beetle, having the same anatomical parts as every other insect. Also, a few parts of the ladybug's body are distinctive as they are less than 0.25 in (6.3 mm) long, oval, or round in shape.

These insects are tiny. A ladybug has a circular structure with a yellow, orange, or red wing cover or elytron (singular elytra) that often has small dots over it. Some of these insects are totally black with black legs, heads, and antennae.

Ladybugs have protein ingredients in them like humans, although, unlike humans, they have exoskeletons. In the human body, this protein helps us to form hair and fingernails.

Ladybugs have three body parts, namely the head, thorax, and abdomen. Like every other insect body, a ladybug's body parts perform different functions individually.

The head of the ladybug consists of mouthparts, compound eyes, and antennae. These antennae are sense organs, and like any other sense organ, help the ladybug to smell, taste, and feel its surroundings. Ladybugs cannot see; this is why they smell out tiny creatures for consumption instead. Although it has two eyes, those do not have the ability to see. Their eyes are only capable of seeing if it's dark or light, as in, they can only sense the day and night through minimal visibility.

The head of the ladybug looks round due to the right side part of its flat head, i.e., pronotum. This part helps them to protect their head and hide it. The larvae outgrow their skin and shed their skin several times.

The thorax has six legs and two pairs of wings, out of which the first pair is the elytra which protect the flight wings underneath with its hard characteristics. When the ladybug spreads its wing for flying, firstly, the elytra opens, and then the thin, veined wings unfold.

The abdomen segment consists of different organs, which helps them in the processes of digestion, respiration, and reproduction. Ladybugs in their adult stage breathe air that enters their body through openings termed spiracles that are found on the sides of their abdomen and thorax.

Ladybugs fly with the help of their wings. However, they do not have a very good sense of direction while flying. Two negative characteristics of ladybugs are that they are very clumsy and consist of six legs. Ladybugs' legs are short in size. With their help, they go up and down a leaf in search of meals.

Types Of Ladybug

There are approximately 5,000 different ladybug species in the world. They vary from each other depending on their sizes, colors, or appetite.

Ladybugs belong to the class Insecta, under the family Coccinellidae. This is under the Hippodamia genus and convergent species, then divided under subspecies.

Ladybugs of the seven-spotted species are considered the most commonly spotted ladybird in Europe. The creatures of this species have another popular name of C-7 beetles. These are some of the most helpful predators to humans as they feed on aphids. Aphids are soft-bodied insects that eat plant sap. They also have a diet consisting of fruits and anything sweet. They lay hundreds of eggs in aphid colonies, which helps in the protection of crops.

Another species is the two-spotted ladybug. They are under the carnivorous beetle category. They even eat others of their own species. They are frequently used in greenhouses and also used for yielding fields because they can help control the number of pests.

Another type of ladybug, the thirteen-spotted ladybug, is also called the Hippodamia tredecimpunctata. These ladybugs lay eggs in groups of 10 – 50 on the lower surfaces of leaves, unlike usual ladybug groups, which lay eggs in groups of 15-30.

Another type is the most colorful of all the beetles, the multicolored Asian lady beetle. It has an appearance that includes varying colors, maybe in the range of orange, red, and sometimes even black.

Another ladybug has a pink spot or spots. Sometimes it also shows black spots with shades of red splattered throughout its body. It mainly has a combination of red and black.

The most spotted ladybug is commonly the lady beetle. These are mostly found in our gardens or just places with greenery. Additionally, these species are medium-sized with yellow or orange colors along with black spots throughout their body.

Asian ladybug sits on a green leaf.

Number Of Legs On A Ladybug

Like all other insects, ladybugs have many legs.

Yes, ladybirds have six jointed legs, which are organized on each side in three pairs. They also have two antennae and an exoskeleton made from chitin (a sturdy protein similar to what makes our hair and nails:.

The six tiny little legs of a ladybug assist it in walking; however, that's not all they do. The feet of a ladybug help it to smell too.

Every time a predator captures a ladybug, a terrible tasting and toxic gel oozes out of its legs, which helps the bug to save its life. Some have the ability to regrow ladybug limbs when they are in the pupa stage.

Do all ladybugs have the same number of legs?

Mostly all the members of the beetle family have six legs; as ladybugs belong to the same family, they also have six legs.

They are differentiated from other groups only if they are seen closely or with magnifiers, as some have diffused body parts. You can check the pronotum area of a ladybug's body in order to know the difference from others. The pronotum area is located at the thorax region, where legs and wings are joined with the body.

Their legs are segmented, and both the males and females have segmentation. Their feet are also capable of detecting flavor and scent. They also permit them to grip firmly while upside down. In the case of the males, they're sufficiently robust and thus can hold onto the females during mating.

Why are these bugs called beetles? Though they are known as ladybugs, they undoubtedly belong to the beetle family. The term 'bugs' has been part of their identity only because it was mistakenly used for hundreds of years.

They're categorized as beetles only because of the presence of their tough shell at the top of their body. Not all insects have an exoskeleton but it is primarily seen in beetles; 20% of all insect species are under the family of beetles. They are under the order Coleoptera, and they go through metamorphosis to take their very final shape.

The ladybird's shiny shades act as a critical and interesting defense mechanism. They are like a sign of caution so that animals refrain from devouring them. When threatened, in order to save its life, the insect secretes an oily, yucky, yellow fluid from the joints of its legs, and their coloring acts as a reminder to any peckish predators who've already eaten their type earlier to remind them that they have a disgusting taste.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'How many legs does a ladybug have?' then why not take a look at 'How many legs do scorpions have?' or 'Ladybug facts'.

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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