Coccinellidae, Coleoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia
Coccinellids are often brightly colored insects, oval and convex. The antennae, with are usually clubbed, are typically 11-segmented, but are sometimes found with as few as 7 segments. The abdomen usually has 5-6 visible sterna, rarely with 7, the first sternum usually with a postcoxal line that is often used to distinguish between species. Tibial spurs may be present or absent, and characteristics of the tarsal claws are often used as defining characteristics.
Coccinellids are generally considered to be beneficial insects agriculturally, acting as natural pest control agents. Both the adults and the larvae in many species are predaceous, often feeding on aphids, mites and scale insects. Due to their considerable benefit agriculturally, species such as Harmonia axyridishave been introduced into the United States. This practice has also had its negative aspects: coccinellids overwinter indoors as adults, sometimes proving to be a nuisance. However, this habit does not seem to have reduced the fondness felt for coccinellids among those in the agricultural community.
Gordon, R. D. 1985. The Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) of America north of Mexico. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 93:1-912.
Melissa Barrows. The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505 USA
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