Newly emerged seven-spot ladybird

Newly emerged seven-spot ladybird

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: An adult seven spot ladybird, Coccinella septem-punctata, shortly after emergence from the pupa, the process known as eclosion. The adult emerges with soft wing cases ( elytra ) and flight wings. It remains in contact with the pupal case, and inflates the elytra and wings prior to their hardening. Initially, the colour of the insect is a pale yellow. This changes over a period of about an hour, first by the appearance of the black spots that give it its species name, followed by the development of the red colour on the elytra. The wings become hard, colourless and transparent. The red colour of the adult continues to deepen throughout its life. The picture shows a adult thirty minutes after eclosion. Although still predominantly yellow in colour, the black spots on the wing cases are becoming visible.

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Keywords: coccinella septem-punctata, eclosion, elytra, insect, ladybird, metamorphosis, pupa, seven-spot

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