Do Ladybugs Go Through Complete Metamorphosis?

The lifecycle of ladybugs includes different stages, and they require a suitable environment for growth and survival because they have evolutionary adaptations that help them protect themselves. 

Do Ladybugs Go Through Complete Metamorphosis? Ladybugs go through complete metamorphosis, including four developmental stages: egg, larvae, pupa, and adult. The egg converts into a larva, which eats ten times more than an adult ladybug to grow. The larva then enters the pupa stage, where the transformation into an adult.

The time taken to complete the metamorphosis varies among species and depends on different environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, food availability, and weather changes.

They have diversity in shape, color, size, and number of spots on their bodies. They find mates around their habitats, mate, and reproduce to add diversity to their population, as genetic variation among different species causes differences in colors and number of spots.

Do ladybugs go through complete or incomplete metamorphosis?

Metamorphosis is a magical transformation because the organism changes, grows, and transforms from one form to another after passing through different stages.

Ladybugs are beetles that undergo complete metamorphosis, such as the transformation where insects go through four life stages.

These lifecycle stages include egg, larvae, pupa, and adult, and the insect that forms after metamorphosis is totally different from its growth phases.

It allows them to develop various adaptations in each phase, which help them survive and ensure they reach adulthood and mate to increase the ladybug population.

What are the stages of ladybugs metamorphosis?

Ladybugs undergo four metamorphosis stages, each causing specific changes in size, shape, and physical appearance. They face many challenges during these stages, and a few eggs hatch and complete their transformation.


Adult ladybugs fly around their habitat and find suitable species fellows for mating because they prefer to mate within the same species to ensure successful reproduction.

They lay eggs after mating, and I read in a research paper that they lay fertile and infertile eggs. The infertile eggs are part of the food chain because larvae also eat them if food is scarce.

They can lay 5-30 eggs in clusters or rows and more than a thousand from spring to summer.

They lay eggs on the leaves near the aphids and mealybugs colony to ensure the food sources for larvae and security for the eggs from different environmental factors.

One of my friends told me that the eggs of these beetles are yellow or orange and have a slightly elongated or oval shape.

He said these eggs look like jellybeans, as he observed many ladybug eggs in his garden because he grew flowering plants that attract these beetles.

These eggs hatch in 3-10 days, depending on the environmental situations around them, as sometimes predators consume them before they hatch and enter the next phase of their lifecycle.


Larvae are the second and most crucial stage in their metamorphosis because dramatic changes occur in their physical appearance and anatomy.

They eat voraciously to grow and develop body organs; for example, they consume 300-400 aphids during their larval stage. They also eat other soft and tiny insects, eggs, mites, scales, flies, thrips, and many more around their host plants.

The adult ladybugs move to other plants if the food is scarce around the host plants of larvae to allow them to eat the remaining insects and survive this life stage, as some larvae can eat the leaves to thrive.

Moreover, my neighbor raised many ladybugs and told me their larvae release toxic and sting-odor chemicals from their abdomens to keep predators away when threatened or disturbed.

He said their diet is ten times more than the adult ladybugs, and they look similar to tiny alligators because they have elongated bodies, black or greyish color with orange strips, and spiny exoskeletons.

They molt four times during this stage, such as shedding the outer skin and increasing the size as they grow. They undergo four instar stages before entering the pupa stage, and molting occurs in each instar.

They show cannibalism when they do not find enough insects and eat the eggs and or larvae of other ladybugs to fill their stomach and get energy to grow.

The larval stage lasts for approximately 3-4 weeks, depending on the temperature and environmental conditions around their host plants.


The third stage of their lifecycle is the pupa, where the larvae undergo particular changes in size and shape and form a skin core around themselves to transform into adults.

The pupa is orange or yellow with black strips or marks and attaches itself to the leaf to stay in one place. It does not move or eat during this phase.

It uses the nutrients larvae gather and eat during the second metamorphosis stage because it grows and develops body mass to ensure the successful pupae phase.

Larvae shed their spiky skin to form a shell around them, and the special cells, known as histoblasts, break down the tissues and cells to develop an adult ladybug.

These histoblast cells control the biochemical reaction and transform the larvae into winged insects. During this pupa stage, the ladybug grows legs, antennae, elytra, and other body organs and emerges as a colorful flying beetle.

The time taken during the pupa stage to develop and an adult ladybug is around 10-15 days, and sometimes they complete this third stage within one week.


An adult and fully developed ladybug emerges from the pupa after a specific time period. The newly emerged ladybugs look yellowish or pale and have a soft exoskeleton, which makes them prone to predation.

My uncle told me that he saw a ladybug emerging from the pupa in his garden, and it was just a magical moment to witness as it changed color to bright red with black spots.

He said these beetles develop the hard exterior later after emerging from the pupa and start their lifecycle as adults.

They feed on aphids, pollens, nectar, and other small and soft insects to get energy. They take flights from one place to another using their wings under the hard shell known as elytra.

Moreover, they find mates and lay eggs to start the lifecycle of other ladybugs, and the chain goes on to many generations.

They lay eggs between March and July and start migrating toward their wintering sites as fall arrives.

They can live up to a few months to a year, and some species can survive more than one year if a suitable environment is provided.

How long is ladybug metamorphosis?

The time for the metamorphosis to complete can take around 2-3 months, but it varies with many environmental factors and the type of the species.

For example, my brother studied the metamorphosis of ladybugs and told me that the time varies with the temperature and weather in their surroundings.

The developing stages last longer in cold and dry weather and speed up in warmer and humid conditions. Moreover, the food supply during the larval stage also contributes to speeding up the metamorphosis because the larvae develop slowly when food is scarce.

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