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Seven-spotted Lady Beetle larva - Coccinella septempunctata

Seven-spotted Lady Beetle larva - Coccinella septempunctata
Sunnyvale WPC Ponds (south SF Bay), Santa Clara County, California, USA
March 29, 2008
Size: ~ 8-10 mm
My preliminary ID on this one is Coccinella septempunctata, despite some differences with images for this species on BG.

Differences: spots are yellow to white, not orange; the four spots in the corners on top of the 1st segment are small and do not blend together; the front of the head is white. Similarities: bristles, general pattern.

This one does not resemble the larvae of any of our other common local species; on the other hand, 7-spots are common here. As a rule I don't collect specimens, but in this case I should have brought this one home -- it might’ve turned out to be the spotless form of C septempunctata, which occurs here occasionally.


Moved from ID Request.

yes - the "Batman Symbol"
The prothorax has that distinctive combination of widely-separated black terga and the "Batman Symbol" pattern created by the four pale anterior and posterior markings. This is probably a third or early fourth instar, recently molted - when they're close to a molt or pupation, the integument stretches out, becoming strained and pale-looking, and breaks up the "symbol." So I have a hard time telling prepupal seven-spotted and Hippodamia larvae apart sometimes. This individual is textbook seven-spotted, though.

I don't know if the appearance of the larva is connected to the appearance of the adult in terms of light or heavy maculation, or immaculation for that matter. It would be interesting to find out. I've had great success rearing lady beetle larvae this summer, the only problem was finding enough aphids in my treeless urban neighborhood.

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