Convergent Lady Beetle

Hippodamia convergens

The Convergent Ladybug is one of the native ladybugs that have been spotted here on the refuge. With similar attributes as the Multicolored Asian Ladybug, at a quick glance they could be easily mistaken for each other. The Convergent Ladybug has a more oval shaped body with its wings coming to a point at the end. There are many spots covering their body that vary in size. One of the most distinguishing factors of the Convergent Ladybug is the white outline and the two white oval marks on its head. The larvae of a Convergent Ladybug are black with orange spots with an elongated body.

When walking the trails around the refuge spotting one of the native lady beetles can be difficult at first. However, if you look hard enough your identification skills are bound to be rewarded!  

Read on to find out why...

Unfortunately when food is limited, native lady beetles have to compete with non-natives for food. Sometimes those non-natives turn to eating the larva of the native species to supplement their diet. To reduce the competition between native and non-native lady beetles always be sure to know the species of lady beetles you are purchasing if you wish to use them to reduce the aphid populations in your gardens.

Read on for more resources, how to get involved, and why we call them "lady beetles" not "lady bugs!

Why do we call them "lady beetles" here when everyone calls them "ladybugs?"

What we so commonly refer to as a "lady bug" is actually a beetle. So what is the difference? Bugs (from the order Hemiptera, also called "true bugs") have sucking mouthparts that are needle-like. Think about cicadas and aphids that feed on plant juices. Beetles (from the order Coleoptera) have chewing mouthparts, like our lady beetles friends that eat aphids and other bugs! Also, bugs have soft membranous wings while beetles forewings (those on top) form hard, leathery coverings over their bodies. Life cycles of bugs and beetles are also different. Bugs have an incomplete metamorphosis - adults look the same as juveniles but bigger and with wings. Beetles go through a complete metamorphosis, starting out as a larvae and turning into something quite different looking!

Now don't stop there when learning about how to identify different types of insects... bugs and beetles are just two of the over 29 orders of insects! But don't be overwhelmed. Insect id can be fun. Check out the following citizen science site that can make learning about these little creatures fun.

The Xerces Society for Invertabrate Conservation

Other resources about lady beetles: 

Convergent Lady Beetle by the University of California

Washington NatureMapping Program

"Ladybugs or Ladybeetles" by Lloyd Eighme retired entomolotist, from the Washington State University

Facts About Convergent Lady Beetle

Native species

4-7mm long

Oval shaped body

White outlined head

Beetles not bugs (read this article to learn more!)