I took this photo the other day in the garden and I posted it here on my blog. Someone identified it as a ladybug larva. (Thanks Margie!) I checked it out and they were right. The amazing part about it to me is that it is so big compared to the adult ladybug.
I looked it up in the Handbook of Nature Study and sure enough there is an illustration on page 364 that really shows the differences between the larva, the pupa, and the adult.
“…for they do not in the least resemble her; they are neither rolypoly nor shiny, bur are long and segmented and velvety, with six queer, short legs that look and act as if they were whittled out of wood; they seem only efficient for clinging around a stem….the absorbing business of the larva is to crawl around on plants and chew up the foolish aphids or the scale insects.”
Handbook of Nature Study page 365
I highly recommend reading the section on ladybugs on pages 364-366. If you read it now, the next time you see a ladybug you will be ready to make some observations with your children. This is the great value I find in using the Handbook of Nature Study. After just a few minutes spent reading this section on ladbybugs, I feel like now I can relate some interesting little tidbits quite naturally to my boys when we next happen upon this insect in our garden.
Go look for some ladybugs!