You’ve probably seen a typical red and black ladybug wandering around your garden. You’ve likely also seen other types of ladybugs and didn’t even realize it.
There are more than 450 types, or species, of ladybugs you can find in North America. With that many types, it’s no surprise that they come in a wide variety of colors and patterns!
In this article, we will scratch the surface of the amazing diversity of ladybugs! We’ll show you the most common, rare, and uniquely colored types as well as the types you can purchase and release in your garden.
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Common Types of Ladybugs
There are two extremely common ladybugs that you will see out in your garden, the seven-spotted lady beetle and the multicolored Asian lady beetle. Both of these little beetles are non-native species in North America though they have become the most prevalent species there.
The Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) is native to Europe and Asia and was introduced to North America in the 1950s. It is now widespread in North America and you can probably find it around your yard.
You can easily distinguish the seven-spotted lady beetle from other common ladybugs because it is larger than most. Adults can be anywhere from 7 to 10mm in size. Their wings are red and, you guessed it, they have 7 black spots.
The multicolored Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis) is also native to Asia and has also spread rapidly throughout North America. This is one of the most diverse ladybug types when it comes to color. They can be red, orange, yellow, and even black with red spots!
The pronotum is the area between an insect’s head and wings. The head of a ladybug is quite small and not visible in the photo below. The pronotum and head can often be the area that remains unchanged in ladybug species with many wing color variations.
The white markings on the multicolored Asian lady beetle’s black pronotum and head are the best way to identify it.
This is probably the most common ladybug you will find. It’s a good thing if you find them in your garden because they will feed on insects, like aphids, that damage plants. This type of ladybug is also known to be the most common type that will come into your home to hibernate during winter.
Rare Types of Ladybugs
Now that you know a little bit about the common ladybug types, let’s talk about a few species you’ll probably never see.
Winton’s ladybird beetle (Allenius iviei) was just discovered in 2009 in Montana. You know it must be extremely rare if we have only just discovered it this century! This is the rarest species in the U.S. and has only been documented a handful of times in Montana and Idaho.
The chances of you seeing this little insect are so rare, you can hardly find a photo of it.
Winton’s ladybird beetle is brown with no pattern. The most unique feature about this creature is that it can actually tuck its head into its throat making it look like a turtle!
The nine-spotted ladybug (Coccinella novemnotata) was once common in North America but is now considered to be rare. It almost completely disappeared from the Northeast in the 1980s for unknown reasons.
While the nine-spotted ladybug looks similar to the seven-spotted lady beetle, it has two additional spots on its wings and is smaller in size. Sometimes, certain individuals will even be spotless!
The two-spotted ladybug (Adalia bipunctata) is another rare species that used to be common across North America. It is now only found in the western United States, southern Canada, and New England. There are several different colors and patterns this beetle can have, but the most recognizable is the red version with a single black spot on each wing.
If you’re trying to look for a two-spotted ladybug, check your shrubs and trees which is where this species prefers to hang out.
The transverse lady beetle (Coccinella transversoguttata) used to be the most common ladybug species you could find in Alberta, Canada. However, since the arrival of the non-native seven-spotted lady beetle, it has become rare in most places. It is now rarely found outside of the Rocky Mountains area.
If you’re looking for this ladybug, it can be identified by the transverse black line right behind the pronotum.
Uniquely Colored Ladybugs
So far, we’ve covered some of the most common-looking types of ladybugs. Red, yellow, and orange are common colors. They also typically have simple black spots.
But there are some amazingly unique-looking types out there! We will show you a few of them here.
Blue Types of Ladybugs
The metallic blue lady beetle (Curinus coeruleus) isn’t native to North America but has been here since the 1950s when it was introduced to Florida. If you live in Florida, you might just be lucky enough to spot this stunning beetle on your plants feeding on scale insects!
This ladybug is a dark metallic blue color with a single orange to red spot on either side of the pronotum.
The steelblue lady beetle (Halmus chalybeus) is native to Australia but is now being found in southern California. It is primarily a dark metallic blue color but can also be purplish or greenish! Males differ from females and have a single yellow spot on either side of the pronotum.
If you live in southern California, keep an eye out for this gorgeous little critter!
The Pink Type Of Ladybug
The pink spotted lady beetle (Coleomegilla maculate) can appear red to pinkish with 6 spots on each wing. It’s also more of an oval shape than the typical ladybug. It is native to North America and lives in the eastern two-thirds of the continent.
This beetle is a great predator of aphids and can be purchased online to release in your garden! However, if you don’t have an aphid problem, it might just fly away in search of its favorite meal.
White, Gray, and Tan Types Of Ladybugs
The fifteen-spotted lady beetle (Anatis labiculata) is another native species that is restricted to the eastern two-thirds of North America. This species has two extremely different color variations. It can either be a white to tan color with black spots (shown below), or a deep, dark, almost purplish red color with black spots.
No matter which color variation you see, you’re sure to find this type of ladybug to be quite remarkable!
The ashy gray lady beetle (Olla v-nigrum) also has two extremely different color variations. It can either be gray with black spots or black with two large red spots on the wings.
This beetle may be found all over the United States and all the way south to Argentina!
Types Of Ladybugs With Unique Patterns
Not only can some types of ladybugs have unique colors but also some extremely unique patterns!
The twenty-spotted lady beetle (Psyllobora vigintimaculata) has a pattern that can be somewhat variable among individuals. The main color is typically white to tan. It can have three areas of darker, orangish coloration and an abundance of spots that can all merge into a unique pattern.
If you didn’t read this article, you might not even think this was a ladybug at all!
You can find this interesting-looking insect throughout most of North America, so keep an eye out for it.
The fourteen-spotted lady beetle (Propylea quatuordecimpunctata) isn’t native to North America but can commonly be found on the eastern half of the continent. It is yellow with square-shaped black markings that can often form a smiley face across the wings!
This species has the shortest known lifecycle among ladybugs and can go from egg to adult in as little as 12 days!
This beetle is often found in gardens and lawns so you might just be able to find one in your backyard.
Broad-striped Lady Beetles (Paranaemia vittigera) look nothing like your typical ladybug. They have a longer, oval-shaped body with striking black and yellow stripes.
If you live in western North America, you can find this creature crawling outside on flowers!
The six-spotted zigzag ladybird (Cheilomenes sexmaculata) is quite charismatic. It can be red or yellow with a unique zigzag pattern on its wings.
You won’t find this species in North America, but it has been spreading in the western hemisphere. It has been found frequently in the Caribbean islands and, more recently, is now being spotted in South America.
If the spread continues, you might just get to see this interestingly patterned beetle in your backyard sometime soon!
Types Of Ladybugs You Can Purchase
Ladybugs are predators of several garden plant pests including aphids. This has led to them being used as a biological control for managing plant pests. Biological control is a form of pest management that uses natural predators to reduce pest populations.
Depending on where you live, there are typically several types of ladybugs you can purchase to release in your garden for biological control. As long as the species you purchase has been confirmed to be present in your state, you can legally purchase and release them there. This prevents the introduction of non-native species to your area.
Here are four types of ladybugs currently available for purchasing and releasing in your garden.
The mealybug destroyer ladybug (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri) is native to Australia and was used as a biological control against citrus mealybug for the first time in 1891. It isn’t as brightly colored as your standard type of ladybug. It has an orange head and pronotum and dark brown to black wings.
The Convergent lady beetle (Hippodamia convergens) is certainly the most colorful species you can purchase. It is the typical red color with small black spots. It also has a black pronotum with a white border and two white spots. This beetle will feed on aphids, scales, and thrips on your plants.
Delphastus catalinae doesn’t have a common name. It is named after the Santa Catalina Island which is where it was first discovered in California. This beetle is obsessed with whiteflies and will readily feed on their eggs.
The Purple scale predator (Rhyzobius lophanthae) looks very similar to the mealybug destroyer but is typically darker. Its pronotum is also brown instead of orange. This little beetle will devour scales and mealybugs that may be feeding on your plants.
We hope this article has opened your eyes to the diverse world of ladybugs! These beetles are wonderful for your garden and will feed on all sorts of small, soft-bodied insects that can harm your plants.
We only covered 19 of the 450 types of ladybugs found in North America, but you now know some of the most common, rare, and unique species you can find out there!
Next time you see a little beetle that’s not red with black spots, take a closer look. It might just be a ladybug!
Bailey, Wayne. “The Pink Spotted Lady Beetle.” Integrated Pest Management, University of Missouri, March 28, 2008,https://ipm.missouri.edu/cropPest/2008/3/The-Pink-Spotted- Lady-Beetle/
Frank, J. and Russell F. Mizell. “Featured Creatures: Ladybirds, Lady Beetles, Ladybugs [of Florida].” Ladybugs – Insecta: Coleoptera: Coccinellidae, November, 2000, https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/ creatures/beneficial/lady_beetles.htm.
Martin NA. 2016, revised 2017. Steelblue ladybird – Halmus chalybeus. Interesting Insects and other Invertebrates. New Zealand Arthropod Factsheet Series Number 24. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/Index.html. 23 September, 2022. ISSN 1179-643X.
Martin NA. 2016, revised 2017. Two-spotted ladybird – Adalia bipunctata. Interesting Insects and other Invertebrates. New Zealand Arthropod Factsheet Series Number 37. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/Index.html. 23 September, 2022. ISSN 1179-643X.
Zuckerman, Laura. “Rare ‘Headless’ Ladybug Discovered in Montana.” Reuters, 25 October 2012, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nature-ladybug/rare-headless-ladybug-discovered -in-montana-idINBRE89O06I20121025.