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Moldy Ladybug? - Harmonia axyridis

Moldy Ladybug? - Harmonia axyridis
Jim Thorpe, PA 18229, Carbon County, Pennsylvania, USA
August 25, 2006
Any idea what is on this Ladybug-it doesn't come off-I tried to wipe it off and wash it off-much to the ladybugs disliking. It looks like a fungi or something.

Pet ladybug growing mold?
I have had a pet ladybug since winter and have been keeping it healthy. I always replace its paper towels and give it honey and raisins. It's very active and I only take it out of the jar when I'm cleaning. During that time I keep it safely under a paper cup. It wasn't in contact with the ladybug that I talked about in my previous post but now it's starting to grow this mold. It's growing on its stomach and face unlike the other one that just had mold on its back. What should do about this? Why did this happen? And should I be worried?

Pet ladybug sick
I find ladybugs in my bathtub during the winter and I usually take care of them till spring. One of the ladybugs I found had this same "mold" on its back. I thought it was just dust or something so I ignored it. But today I say that the mold had spread. The ladybug soon died and I'm pretty sure this is the cause of death. I tried to brush it off with a fine tipped paint brush and tried to carefully pull it off with tweezers but nothing worked. I want to know if there's a way to help ladybugs with this mold, or if there's a way to prevent it.

Fungus not cause of death
The fungus is Hesperomyces virescens and belongs to a group of unusual fungi, the Laboulbeniales. I study this fungus and don't think it has been the cause of death for your ladybird. The ladybird simply must have been old or impaired by another cause. I see hundreds of ladybirds with these fungi on them in good condition. Taking the fungi off is tricky; you have to use an entomological pin and remove them from the single point of attachment. It is, however, almost impossible to do this from a living ladybird. The fungi are indeed surprisingly strongly attached to their host -- that is because they penetrate the ladybirds for nutrition and holdfast.


sometimes a ladybug puts a ye
sometimes a ladybug puts a yellow liquid out of its spots for protection i guess it could have got stuck on the exosceliton and turned to mold

I've seen the yellow foul sme
I've seen the yellow foul smelling liquid but I didn't know it came from the spots on the wing covers....

I'm pretty sure it doesn't come from the spots -
most of the references I've seen, including Wikipedia, mention that the yellow liquid is exuded from their leg joints.

You made me look this up ^__^
Hannah, you're right. (I was sure it didn't come from the spots but I wasn't sure if it was "spit" or what}

On lady bug defense on

"By pulling their legs up "turtle-style", and typically release a small amount of blood from their legs. (This is called reflex bleeding.) The bad smell and the apparent look of death usually deter predators from their small ladybug snack"

oops sorry some the books i've read said it came from the spots but i guess i was wrong but i'm going to look for some info about yellow mold

We have recently had this fungus identified
on another ladybird image - see comments on this one:

thank you
thanks for telling me what it was by the way do you know if it kills them

It's a true parasite
- it requires a live host to survive - so it's not in the fungus's "best interests" to kill the host. I imagine it restricts the movement of the ladybird beetle's wings when it gets this severe, though, which might shorten the life of the beetle.

A quick Google search turned up a statement in this scholarly article from Taiwan:

"most Laboulbeniales seem to have no serious detrimental effect on the normal life of their hosts."

More info...
I ran across this photo and a discussion about ladybird parasites on Flickr...The ladybird in question is an English species that's not the Asian Multicolored...(my part in the conversation is under the name maximillian_millipede)

This is the worst case I've seen
but this fungus seems to be quite common on Harmonia. We've seen several pictures like this one (below):

Thanks and....
so it is a fungus-does it kill them?

I haven't been able to find any info on this on the web
- not even confirmation it's a fungus. I should think in this advanced stage it must impair this beetle's ability to fly, and thus to get to food, so surely at the least it would shorten its life span.

Laboulbeniales on Harmonia axyridis
Hi all,

This is Hesperomyces virescens (probably), from the order Laboulbeniales (Fungi, Ascomycota). It uses a haustorium to penetrate the host’s integument, making contact with the haemocoel and drawing nutrients from it. The haustoria only cause deformation, no life-threatening damage.

In spite of their parasitic nature, most Laboulbeniales, including the ones forming a haustorium inside the host’s body, seem to have little or no effect on the reproduction and survival of their host. There are some papers with information on particular hosts that demonstrate a shorter life span and/or a decreased number of offspring. This is, however, certainly not the rule in Laboulbeniales.


I found info on a white fungus and a green fungus--not yellow though.

Interesting anyway.

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