Fauna Details

Common Name Lunate Lady Beetle, Ladybird (Eng); lievenheerbesie (Afr).
Family Coccinellidae
Date Observed 23-09-2022
Category Insects
Catalogue No. Z6010RG
Breeding/ Spawning Time Summer
When Observed DAYTIME
Locations Observed
Nature Reserve Few
Small Holding
Village Few
Greater Rooiels

Cheilomenes lunata


Lunate Lady Beetle, Ladybird (Eng); lievenheerbesie (Afr).

Why is it called a "ladybird"?

The Lady in Ladybird or ladybeetle refers to the Virgin Mary. During the Middle Ages in Europe farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary when their crops were being destroyed by pests. When the fields were invaded by colourful little beetles, the crops were miraculously saved. In Belgium and Flanders the Ladybeetle is called “Lievenheerbeesje” (the Lord’s little beast) and is protected, which means it is illegal to kill, catch, store them or to destroy their eggs. In the Netherlands they are the symbol against senseless violence.

Ladybirds feed on aphids, mealybugs and scale and are the gardener’s friend. In the 19th century America imported thousands of ladybirds from Australia to save their orange orchards.

When attacked by a predator, the ladybird secretes a toxin through the joints of the exoskeleton, enough to scare off any bird or cat.

Ladybirds are insects and go through metamorphosis. Their eggs hatch into larvae, which feed and grow for about a month, devouring hundreds of aphids and other insects. After a month they become pupae from which the beautiful ladybird develops.

There are many different kinds of ladybirds (ladybeetles) in the world. The Lunate Ladybeetle is found in South Africa and is spreading northwards. Some alien ladybirds have found their way to South Africa as well and most of them seem to do only good. In addition to the Lunate Ladybeetle, we have also found the Hippodamia Variegate  (Variegated Ladybeetle), a naturalized species, in Rooiels. There might be more.