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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Coccinellidae (ladybird beetles)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Eumetabola > Holometabola > Coleoptera (beetles) > Polyphaga > Superfamily: Cucujoidea

Small to medium sized, round hemispherical beetles. Brightly coloured, spotted or striped in black, yellow, red or orange. The head is hidden below the pronotum. There are 8 subfamilies in southern Africa and all are carnivorous except Epilachninae. The predatory species are important for the control of crop pests and some of the Epilachninae species are crop pests.

When disturbed, the adults drop to the and discharge yellow blood from the leg joints. This a defense mechanism as the blood is toxic to vertebrates.

Eggs are laid singly or in pairs on the plant and larvae emerge and feed on other insects (aphids) on the plant.

Some subfamilies, genera and species

Subfamily: Coccidulinae


Subfamily: Coccinellinae

Includes the genera: Cheilomenes, Harmonia, Micraspis, Oenopia, Psyllobora.


Subfamily Chilochorinae

Includes the genus Exochomus.  

Subfamily: Epilachninae

Includes the genera Epilachna and Henosepilachna

Subfamily: Hyperaspinae


Subfamily: Noviinae


Subfamily Scymninae


Subfamily Sticholotidinae


Page by Margie Cochrane