Difference Between Male & Female Ladybugs

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Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home. Although it might be easy to think the adorable red bugs with black dots are all female, some ladybugs are males as well. The ladybug's misnomered name hails all the way back to the Middle Ages when a plague of bugs destroyed farmers' crops. The Catholic farmers sent out prayers to the Virgin Mary and named the red spotted bugs that proliferated to eat the pests "the beetles of our lady."

Who Ya Callin' Lady?

There is little to distinguish male from female ladybugs. When you see a pair, the male ladybug is smaller than the female. During mating, the male grips the hard wings of the female, remaining on top of her for up to two hours. Under a microscope, the male ladybug's attributes become visible. These include hairlike structures on the last segment on the underside of their abdomen, prominent bands between the segments and a notch on the posterior segment. Females have relatively smooth abdomens with barely discernible flexor bands, few hairs and a rounded posterior segment.

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A former world-class swimmer, J.T. O'Connell shares her love of adventure travel, extreme sports and pets through thousands of published articles. O'Connell studied journalism at Grand Canyon University, and brings professional experience as a tour guide and travel consultant. She authors the blog, Traveling With Large Dogs.