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What Do Ladybugs Eat? - All About Ladybugs!

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. November 1, 2020
What Do Ladybugs Eat? - All About Ladybugs!

Ladybugs are beautiful insects we often find flying around the garden. However, many of us don't know much about them. If you've been asking yourself questions such as, what do ladybugs eat or how long do they live for, you've come to the right place.

In this AnimalWised article we're going to talk about what ladybugs eat. However, we'll also go over some basic information about these cute little insects. Keep reading to learn more!

About ladybugs

Ladybugs (Coccinellidae) are invertebrae insects native to Europe but brought to North America in the 1950s. These little bugs are 0.3-0.4 inches in size and live for 2-3 years in the wild. These insects are often appreciated for their beautiful and vibrant red colour. However, farmers appreciate them for their appetite.

Although they look like harmless and innocent animals, ladybugs are actually omnivores that feed on plant-eating insects and certain plants. In fact, some ladybugs even eat other ladybugs! Continue reading to learn more about their diet.

What ladybugs eat

As we've previously mentioned, ladybugs are omnivores. However, to be more accurate, they are actually an opportunist carnivore. As they mostly feed on plant-eating insects and even other ladybugs. However, they may munch on a leaf here and there. This is what makes them loved by farmers. Ladybugs are considered a natural pest-control option.

With that being said, there are also certain species of ladybugs that are herbivores. This is the case for the species of the Epilachninae subfamily, which are all herbivores.

What Do Ladybugs Eat? - All About Ladybugs! - What ladybugs eat

What do ladybug larvae eat?

In general, larvae and adult ladybugs have the same diet made up of mostly plant-eating insects. However, some larvae can supplement their diet by consuming fungi, nectar and pollen too.

If you're enjoying this article, we also encourage you to read our article about if insects feel pain.

How much can ladybugs eat?

Ladybugs have a voracious appetite and have a very particular feeding strategy. They lay thousands of eggs in the colonies of the insects on which they feed, so that when the larvae hatch, they have food readily available. Therefore, when a ladybug is born, they don't need to worry about where to get there food as their parents have already positioned them favourably.

So, how much do ladybugs actually eat? Generally, a single larva is capable of eating about 500 individuals of its prey while developing. This can vary depending on the species and the food available, but on certain occasions they can consume more than 1,000 individual insects. When they reach adulthood, their favourite prey changes as they begin consuming ever larger species of insects.

Cannibalism in ladybugs

Another interesting fact about a ladybug's diet is that they can be cannibals when in the larval stage. This behaviour usually occurs when one larvae is born first and decides to feed on the other eggs that have just hatched or haven't even hatched yet. In other words, as a new born they may feed on their siblings.

If you found this article interesting, you may also want to read our article about the largest insects in the world.

Want to learn more? Watch this video about ladybugs and their diet.

If you want to read similar articles to What Do Ladybugs Eat? - All About Ladybugs!, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

Bibliography
  • Gordon, RD (1985). The Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) of America north of Mexico . Journal of the New York Entomological Society, 93 (1).
  • Hagen, KS (1962). Biology and ecology of predaceous Coccinellidae . Annual review of entomology, 7 (1), 289-326.
  • Hodek, I., & Michaud, JP (2013). Why is Coccinella septempunctata so successful? (A point-of-view) . AXIS, 105 (1), 1-12.
  • Hodek, I. (2013). Biology of coccinellidae . Springer Science & Business Media.
  • Hodek, I., & Honêk, A. (2013). Ecology of coccinellidae (Vol. 54) . Springer Science & Business Media.

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