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Coccinellidae is a family of beetles, known variously as ladybirds (British English, Australian English, South African English), ladybugs (North American English) or lady beetles (preferred by some scientists). The family name comes from its type genus, Coccinella. Coccinellids are found worldwide, with over 5,000 species described[1], more than 450 native to North America alone. Coccinellids are small insects, ranging from 1 mm to 10 mm (0.04 to 0.4 inches), and are commonly yellow, orange, or scarlet with small black spots on their wing covers, with black legs, head and antennae. A very large number of species are mostly or entirely black, gray, or brown and may be difficult for non-entomologists to recognize as coccinellids (and, conversely, there are many small beetles that are easily mistaken as such, like tortoise beetles).

Coccinellids are generally considered useful insects as many species feed on aphids or scale insects, which are pests in gardens, agricultural fields, orchards, and similar places. The Mall of America, for instance, releases thousands of ladybugs into its indoor park as a natural means of pest control for its gardens[2]. Some people consider seeing them or having them land on one's body to be a sign of good luck to come, and that killing them presages bad luck. A few species are pests in North America and Europe.

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Additional Photos by Siegfried Potrykus (siggi) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 179 W: 34 N: 191] (1419)
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