How can you tell a female from a male ladybug?

Answered by Frank Schwing

To distinguish a female ladybug from a male, one can look at various physical characteristics. One key feature is the shape of the distal margin of the seventh abdominal sternite. In females, this margin is convex, meaning it curves outward. On the other hand, in males, this margin is typically straight or slightly concave, meaning it is either straight or curves inward.

Another distinguishing factor between the sexes is the presence of dark pigmentation on certain body parts. Female ladybugs often display dark pigmentation on their labrums, which is the upper lip-like structure located on the front of their heads. Additionally, the prosternum, which is the segment just behind the head, may also exhibit dark pigmentation in females.

It is worth noting that these characteristics may vary to some extent among different species of ladybugs. Therefore, it is important to consider these features as general guidelines rather than rigid rules. In some cases, further examination or consultation with an expert may be necessary for accurate identification.

Interestingly, female ladybugs do not engage in mating during their overwinter phase. Instead, they enter a state of diapause, which is a period of dormancy or inactivity that helps them survive the winter. During this time, female ladybugs conserve their energy and focus on surviving until the arrival of spring when they become active again.

Identifying female ladybugs can be done by observing the shape of the distal margin of the seventh abdominal sternite and looking for dark pigmentation on the labrums and prosternums. However, it is important to consider the variations among species and consult experts if needed for accurate identification. The behavior of female ladybugs during their overwinter phase also differs from males, as they do not mate and instead enter a state of diapause.