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State Insects,
Butterflies, and Bugs
State Insects, Butterflies, and Bugs

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Tennessee State Insect (Ladybug)

Ladybug

Tennessee State Insect (Ladybug)

(Coccinella 7)

Adopted in 1975.

The Ladybug, (Coccinella 7,) was adopted as Tennessee State Insect in 1975. The official state insects were designated by Public Chapter 292 of the Acts of 1975. They are the well-known firefly, or lightning bug beetle, and the ladybeetle, more commonly known as the ladybug or ladybird beetle. The lady beetle belongs to the family Coccinellidae.

The legislation did not name a particular species and there are over 500 species found in North America, some native and some not. The Tennessee Blue Book assumes Coccinella 7, a European species, in its article on the state insects. Coccinella 7 is very common in North America.

The Ladybug is the Official State Insect of six states; New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Tennessee. The Lady Bug is the Official State "Bug" of Delaware.

Tennessee State Insect: Ladybug

Tennessee State Insect (Ladybug)

The ladybeetle, more commonly called ladybug or ladybird beetle, is the popular name given the Coccinella 7. This beetle was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and called "Beetle of Our Lady." They are around four-tenths of an inch long, brightly colored, round, with the popular ladybug having four black spots on each wing. Ladybugs are sold to farmers to control insect pests because they are important aphid predators. The life cycle is about four weeks as the ladybug larvae passes through four growth stages feeding on insects and insect eggs. The reddish-orange ladybug has distinctive black spots on each wing cover.

It helps farmers by controlling insect pests, especially aphids. In folk medicine, ladybugs were believed to cure various diseases such as colic and measles. In folk medicine ladybug beetles were used to cure various diseases including colic and the measles.

Characteristics of the Ladybug

Adults:

Small, domed usually hemispherical. Head sunk into pronotum. legs short and retractable; tarsi 4-segmented but 3rd segment very small and concealed in bi-lobed 2nd. 7 Black spots on bright red. Adults may be seen from March to October.

Defense:

Bright colors generally indicate that the insect is armed and dangerous! In this case the ladybird is advertising it's bitter taste. When handled the ladybird will exude drops of pungent fluid which stain the hand and taint it with a long-lasting smell.

Feeding:

As with most in this family, ladybirds will eat huge numbers of aphids in both the larval and adult stages

LARVA:

carnivorous, aphids

Some Facts About Ladybugs:

  • Ladybugs are the most popular and widely used beneficial insects for commercial and home use. Ladybugs are capable of consuming up to 50 to 60 aphids per day but will also eat a variety of other insects and larvae including scales, mealy bugs, leaf hoppers, mites, and various types of soft-bodied insects, and are one of the most active predators, searching from dawn to dusk for food.
  • Ladybugs will consume over 5,000 aphids each in their lifetime. Pollen and nectar are necessary for maturation of newly emerged ladybug adults, particularly before a winter hibernation season. Adults can survive on pollen and nectar for limited periods, but a supply of aphids or other prey is necessary for egg production.
  • Ladybugs become active at about 59 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Ladybugs are cold-blooded and hibernate in cold weather.
  • There are nearly 5,000 different kinds of ladybugs worldwide - 400 of which live in North America.
  • A ladybug's top flying speed is about fifteen miles per hour.
  • Ladybugs lay their eggs where aphids are present. Both lady bugs and their larvae eat aphids. The eggs of ladybugs are not visible to the naked eye.
  • A female ladybug will lay more than 1000 eggs in her lifetime.
  • Ladybugs are a type of beetle. All species of ladybugs have short legs. This separates them from other beetles.
  • Ladybugs chew from side to side and not up and down like people do.
  • The Ladybug is the Official State Insect of six states; New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Tennessee. The Lady Bug is the Official State "Bug" of Delaware.
  • A ladybug excretes a yellowish liquid when it is threatened. The liquid has a terrible smell to its predators.
  • The Asian Lady "Beetle" can live up to 2-3 years if the conditions are right.

Tennessee Law

The law designating the ladybird beetle as the official Tennessee state insect is found in the Tennessee Code Annotated, title 4, chapter 1, part 3, section 4-1-308a.

Title 4 State Government
Chapter 1 General Provisions
Part 3 State Symbols
Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-1-308 (2011)

4-1-308. State insects - State agricultural insect.

(a) The well-known firefly, or lightning bug beetle, and the ladybird beetle, commonly known as the ladybug, are hereby designated as the official state insects.

(b) The honeybee is designated as the official agricultural insect of Tennessee in tribute to its fundamental role in the production of all crops.

HISTORY: Acts 1975, ch. 292, § 1; T.C.A., § 4-120; Acts 1990, ch. 725, § 1.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Ladybird Beetle

Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
Phylum: Arthropoda (Arthropods)
    Subphylum: Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class: Insecta (Insects)
Order: Coleoptera (Beetles)
    Suborder: Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Long-horned, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
No Taxon: (Series Cucujiformia)
Superfamily: Coccinelloidea
    No Taxon: (Coccinellid group)
        Family: Coccinellidae (Lady Beetles)
            Subfamily: Coccinellinae
Genus: Coccinella
Species: Coccinella 7

State Insects,
Butterflies, and Bugs
State Insects,
State insects are selected by 45 states of the 50 United States. Some states have more than one designated insect, or have multiple categories (e.g., state insect and state butterfly, etc.).
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