Ladybugs (Ladybirds)

Coccinellidae is a family of beetles, known variously as ladybirds (British English and Australian English), ladybugs (North American English) or lady beetles (preferred by scientists). The word "lady" in the name is thought to allude to the Virgin Mary in the Roman Catholic faith. Coccinellids are found worldwide, with over 5,000 species described, more than 450 native to North America alone. Coccinellids are small insects, ranging from 1 mm to 10 mm (0.04 to 0.4 inches), and are commonly yellow, orange, or scarlet with small black spots on their wing covers, with black legs, head and antennae. A very large number of species are mostly or entirely black, gray, or brown, however, and may be difficult for non-entomologists to recognize as ladybugs (and, conversely, there are many small beetles that are easily mistaken for ladybugs, such as tortoise beetles). As the family name suggests, they are usually quite round in shape. They are considered useful insects as many species feed on aphids or scale insects, which are pests in gardens, agricultural fields, orchards, and similar places. Because they are useful, colourful, and harmless to humans, coccinellids are typically considered cute even by people who hate most insects,[POV] though a few species are pests in North America and Europe. Some people consider seeing them or having them land on one's body to be a sign of good luck to come, and that killing them presages bad luck.


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