Ladybird Beetle or Ladybug, common name for any of about 6,000 species of brightly colored beetles found in temperate and tropical regions throughout the world. The ladybird beetle is less than 1.2 cm (less than 0.5 in) in maximum length. It has a nearly hemispherical body, rounded above and flat below, a small head, and short legs. Ladybird beetles are often red or orange above, spotted with black, white, or yellow. Some species are black, with or without spots. The larvae are also brilliantly colored, often blue, with stripes of orange or black.
All the ladybird beetles, with the exception of the members of one vegetation-eating genus, are carnivorous. In both the adult and larval stages they feed on insects harmful to plants, such as aphids and scale insects. Because of the help ladybird beetles render farmers in destroying agricultural pests, the beetles were popularly regarded in the Middle Ages as instruments of benevolent intervention by the Virgin Mary, whence the common name ladybird. (MSN Encarta)