Ladybug Life Cycle Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kristina Washington-Morris

Kristina has taught a variety of elementary classes and has a master's degree in elementary education.

Ladybugs are red and black spotted beetles, but they begin life looking very different. This lesson will teach you about the four stages of the ladybug life cycle.

Ladybug Life Cycle Stages

Ladybugs, also called lady beetles, are small, spotted beetles that are well-liked by many people. They don't begin their lives as the easy-to-spot red and black spotted insects, though. In fact, you may not even recognize a young ladybug if it crawled right in front of your nose!

Ladybugs transform through four stages in a process called metamorphosis. The ladybug life cycle includes these stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. A ladybug looks very different in each of the stages. Let's explore them now.

The First Stage: Egg

Ladybug Eggs Attached to a Leaf
Ladybug Eggs

Ladybug eggs are often found on the bottom of a leaf. A mother ladybug will lay her yellow, bean-shaped eggs in large clusters or lines. The eggs are usually near a large group of aphids or other plant pests because they are a ladybug's main source of food. The mother ladybug makes sure the eggs have plenty of food as soon as they hatch. It's like being born in the kitchen of your favorite restaurant!

The Second Stage: Larva

A Ladybug Larva
Ladybug Larva

The larva stage begins when the ladybug hatches from its egg. The ladybug larva has six legs, a long tail, and black spikes surrounding its body. In this stage, the larva looks more like a spiny lizard than the spotted beetle it will grow to be.

The larva begins to eat as soon as it hatches. The newly hatched larva can bite, and it uses this skill to feast on tiny plant pests, like the aphids we talked about earlier. A ladybug larva can eat up to 25 aphids a day! Could you imagine eating 25 sandwiches in one day?

All this eating makes the larva grow quickly. A ladybug larva sheds its skin when it outgrows its current skin. The larva has to eat plenty to make sure it has enough energy stored up for the next stage in the ladybug life cycle.

The Third Stage: Pupa

A Ladybug Pupa
ladybug pupa

When the ladybug larva has eaten and grown as much as it can, it begins the pupa stage. The larva finds a safe place and attaches its long tail to a leaf or twig. The larva then begins to work on creating a pupa. A pupa is a shell that protects the ladybug while it transforms. A pupa is like a strong tent. It keeps the ladybug warm and safe inside.

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