Asian Multicolored Lady Beetle

Allie Dorband

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Background

Asian Multicolored Lady Beetles, or Harmonia Axyridis, were introduced to the United States in the late 1900's, as the name suggests they originally came from eastern Asia.


These beetles are very similar to the native American Lady Beetle and where first recorded in mass quantities in the Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and other northern state areas.


"Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (Ladybug)." PennState Department of Agriculture
Sciences. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2016. <http://ento.psu.edu/extension/
factsheets/multicolored-asian-lady-beetle>.

Interactions - Impacts

As adults we live in clusters of 20 on leaves and plants, we may live for 3 years. We also conjugate on wind sills, sheds, screen doors, and various other areas around the house that face sunlight.


Since our main prey is soft shelled insects like aphids, and sometimes even fungus, our presence in nature is required to keep the population of such organisms at a low since they prey off the plants such as trees. In turn the trees, fruit or not, produce life the other organisms, such as seeds, animals dependent on the tree for housing, such as birds, and large animals who may take shelter under it or even use it as a food source. Not to meant the photosynthesis that helps keep up human living conditions.


"Multicolored Asian lady beetle." Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2016. <http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/foresthealth/
ladybeetle.html>.

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Physical Factors

First appearances are of an orange, yellow, or red ladybug with 0-20 different black spots, commonly nicknamed the "Halloween Lady Beetle."


We are usually oval or convex in shape and slightly larger, females being larger than the males at 7mm in length and 5.5 mm in width.


When we lay eggs, they are yellow and oval, but they stand up at a slanted angel in the cluster.


The larvae however are long in length, dark colored typically, flat, and covered in spikes or minute tubercles.


"Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (Ladybug)." PennState Department of Agriculture
Sciences. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2016. <http://ento.psu.edu/extension/
factsheets/multicolored-asian-lady-beetle>.

"Multicolored Asian lady beetle." Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2016. <http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/foresthealth/
ladybeetle.html>.

Energetics - Metabolism

We typically like the spend our time in the summer out on trees, window sills, and door frames of houses if faced towards the sun. The warm temperatures and being in the sunlight is when we are in homeostasis.


Whenever winter comes is when the invasion into house walls and sheds become evident, larger than normal, normal being 20 beetles, will nest together in the cracks waiting for the seasons to change.


Since we are cold blooded we are very sensitive to the weather changes, which forces us to take refuge in buildings that offer a more stable environment during the cold months of winter.

Primary Nutritional/Macromolecules

Before we change into pupa, we will eat leaves and plant material from the area we were hatched on.


After the change to adulthood, our main diet will consist of aphids and scale insects. Plant material such as leaves will also be used to sustain our bodies.


Our diet of aphids and the scale insects help plants such as horticultural plants, the plants used for produce in stores, and other agricultural purposes, or the simple trees in people's backyards. Since those two smaller insects are our prey, we must consume them for the majority of our diet making the concentration of those prey lessened in the area we, the cluster, are passing through.


"Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (Ladybug)." PennState Department of Agriculture
Sciences. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2016. <http://ento.psu.edu/extension/
factsheets/multicolored-asian-lady-beetle>.

Physiology

Being a Lady Beetle, we have eight main parts; head, antenna, eyes, pronotum, thorax, elytra, wings, and legs. Our general anatomy is similar to the basis of every other insect where a few parts are unique to the us. Such as our size, less than a 1/4 inch, our coloring, red, yellow, and orange with patterns (or no pattern) to symbolize to predators we taster bad and are poisonous.


"Ladybug Anatomy." Ladybug-Life-Cycle. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2016.
<http://www.ladybug-life-cycle.com/ladybug-anatomy.html>.

Reproduction

As a Harmonia Axyridis, my life cycle will only take about 3-4 weeks to go in a full circle from egg, to adult, to egg. The eggs only take 3-4 days to hatch though.


After hatching, I will eat off the trees for 12-14 days before pupating on the leaves for 5-6 days.


Our eggs are laid on the underside of leaves on different plants. The amount of eggs we lay allow for multiple generations to occur in just one year.


"Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (Ladybug)." PennState Department of Agriculture
Sciences. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2016. <http://ento.psu.edu/extension/
factsheets/multicolored-asian-lady-beetle>.

"Multicolored Asian lady beetle." Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2016. <http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/foresthealth/
ladybeetle.html>.

5 Examples of Evolutionary Adaptions

1. The coloring of red, yellow, or orange along with the presence of black spots on the Lady Beetles allow predators to distinguish it as poisonous and un tasty, so they are less likely to go after the Beetle.


2. Whenever threatened, a Lady Beetle can eject hemolymph from their back legs, this is called a "reflex bleed." Hemolymph is not only toxic, but gives a nasty, strong smell to ward off any predators getting close to deter them from choosing the Beetle.


3. The legs of a Lady Beetle have become short, and tuck under the body at any given time so the Beetle is able to fly away with ease and to create a better grip on the plant structures they are walking on in order to get their food.


4. The size of the pronotum is also the majority of the insect. This is the harder shell of the Beetle which offers more protection to the insect. Overtime the head of the Beetle has moved further back so it is nearly all protected by the pronotum now.


5. Most importantly in terms of getting nutrients, the mouth of the Lady Beetle has changed to become most efficient in chewing, specifically plants, the leaves, and smaller, soft shelled insects like aphids and scale insects which are first neutralized by the Beetle's poison.


Ladybugs, Family Coccinellidae." about education. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 May 2016.
<http://insects.about.com/od/beetles/p/coccinellidae.htm>.