Q:

What kinds of ladybugs are poisonous?

A:

Quick Answer

There are more than 5,000 species of ladybugs and they are only poisonous to smaller animals such as birds and lizards. Ladybugs are not considered poisonous to humans. However, people that accidentally consume a ladybug find them foul-tasting.

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What kinds of ladybugs are poisonous?
Credit: Gordon Wrigley CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

Ladybugs are beetles. In Europe, they are more commonly known as ladybird beetles. Their brightly colored bodies serve to warn off approaching predators by alerting them that they are not a tasty snack. Their bright red coloring is a natural defense system that protects them from harm. A human would have to consume hundreds of ladybugs in one sitting to feel any ill effects.

Scientific research conducted by Exeter and Liverpool Universities found that ladybugs that eat heartily early in life develop brighter colors than those that eat more sparsely. Those with bright red bodies have stronger poison defenses than their paler counterparts. Being a brighter color also makes them easier to see, which is good for staying out of danger.

Ladybugs are considered friendly insects by gardeners because they love to eat plant-destroying bugs. Most ladybugs feed on aphids. They often lay eggs near colonies of aphids. The young offspring begin feeding on aphids immediately after hatching. Allowing a garden ladybug to crawl on the skin is not dangerous.

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    A:

    Ladybugs need air, like humans, but unlike humans they do not have lungs. Instead, they take in air through tiny openings in the sides of their abdomen and thorax called spiracles. The distribution of oxygen in ladybugs' bodies also differs from that of a human body, because the oxygen is not carried in the ladybug's blood.

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    What do ladybugs eat?

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    What do ladybugs typically eat?

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    How do ladybugs fly?

    A:

    During flight, the shell of the ladybug raises to reveal light and gossamer wings, which are approximately four times bigger than the beetle's body. When the beetle is not flying, the shell closes to protect the wings. Red in color and sporting black spots, the shell of the ladybug is what makes it instantly recognizable.

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