Ladybird Beetle Identification Key

A diagnostic guide to coccinellids in agricultural fields in Southeastern Minnesota

By Nancy A. Schellhorn

Photos by Nancy Schellhorn and Jason Harmon
Text by Nancy Schellhorn

This guide provides a pictoral key for seven species of ladybird beetles (Coccinellidae) commonly found in agricultural fields and natural habitats in south and southeast Minnesota, U.S.A. This key may not be valid in any other location.

map of Minnesota

We have found that our color photo key is easier to use than illustrations, and for most of the species listed, photos of each instar are provided.

Coleomegilla maculata (De Geer), adult, larvae

Coleomegilla maculata (De Geer), adult, larvae

What stage is your ladybird beetle?

Adult

photo of a ladybird beetle adult

Pupae

photo of a ladybird beetle pupae

Larvae

photo of a ladybird beetle larvae

Adult coccinellids are fairly easy to identify (Gordon 1985), but the larvae and pupae are more difficult. In our key the larvae are identified by dorsal color pattern, a character that is widely recognized as appropriate and sufficient for identifying species in the subfamily Coccinellinae (Gordon and Vandenberg 1991, NAS personal experience), the subfamily of all species presented here. Keys by Rees et al (1994) and Gordon and Vandenberg (1991) illustrate late instar larvae from 46 genera and 6 adult species, respectively (also see Rees et al. 1994 for a more comprehensive list). The keys by Gordon (1985) and Gordon and Vandenberg (1991) are the most comprehensive keys for identifying adult coccinellids, both native and introduced.

For further information please contact:

Nancy A. Schellhorn, Research Scientist
CSIRO Entomology
120 Meiers Road
Indooroopilly, QLD 4068
AUSTRALIA
E-mail: Nancy.Schellhorn@csiro.au

David Andow, Professor
Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota
219 Hodson Hall
1980 Folwell Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108
E-mail: dandow@umn.edu

Please cite as Shellhorn, N.A. 2003. A diagnostic guide to coccinellids in agricultural fields in Southeastern Minnesota. https://www.vegedge.umn.edu/pest-profiles/beneficials/ladybird-beetle-key

Ladybird Beetle Identification Key