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What do ladybugs have in common with wolves? Read the passage to find
out. Then answer multiple choice questions 1 through 8 and the open response item.
Insect predators, such as ladybugs, green lacewings, and hover flies, are meat-eaters.
They hunt and eat other insects, just as wolves eat other mammals and sharks eat other
The best-known predatory insect is the ladybug. Of the roughly 400 different
species of ladybugs found in North America, all but two are beneficial.
Ladybugs are especially attracted to aphids, one of the most serious and
common garden pests. Aphids are tiny insects that attack plants growing on
farms, in small towns, and even in large cities. These insects are often greenand usually form clusters on apple trees, tomatoes, rose bushes, American
elms, and many other plants. They cling to the leaves, stems, or flowers of
plants and suck out the juices. Eventually, the plant droops, the leaves
shrivel, and the flowers drop.
Ladybugs are actually beetles, not bugs. One of the differences between
bugs and beetles is that beetles have chewing mouthparts while bugs'
mouthparts are adapted for sucking. Ladybugs chew up aphids with their
razor-sharp mandibles, or jaws.
In warm spring weather, look for ladybugs hunting in colonies of aphids.
They crawl over the aphids, pluck them off the plant, and slowly crunch
each aphid body-bit by bit.
Ladybugs have enormous appetites. A ladybug can eat about fifty aphids a
day. Ladybugs aren't fussy eaters. Besides aphids, they also devour tiny
worms, caterpillars, mites, scale insects, white flies, or whatever else
they can get their little mouthparts on.
Ladybug larvae are also predators. Since larvae are growing, they are even
more hungry then adult ladybugs. One larva may gobble up more than 300
aphids during the week or two it takes to grow into an adult.
The larva looks similar to a stubby lizard and scurries about actively on its
six legs. Its colors are the reverse of a ladybug's-a ladybug has black spots
on red wings, while the larva has red or blue spots on a black body. When it
finds an aphid, the larva pierces its prey with its hollow mandibles and sucks
out the juices.
You also might spot ladybug eggs on the underside of a leaf. To the naked
eye they look like small yellow grains, but with a hand magnifier, you can
see the clumps of tiny golden eggs.
Choose the best answer for the following multiple choice
questions 1-8.
1. Ladybugs are best described as
A. mammals.
B. beetles.
C. insects.
D. larvae.
2. One of the best places to find a ladybug is
A. by a colony of aphids.
B. perched on a mandible.
C. in an American elm.
D. with other insects.
3. A ladybug can eat about
A. 50 aphids a day.
B. 60 aphids a day.
C. 300 aphids a week.
D. 400 aphids a week.
4. Aphids are considered to be pests because they
A. cat ladybugs.
B. destroy plants.
C. bite people.
D. suck larvae.
5. According to the passage, which of these statements about ladybugs is not true
A. They are meat-eaters.
B. They are beneficial.
C. They are pests.
D. They are beetles.
6. Why do larvae eat more than adult ladybugs?
A. They store their food for the season.
B. They use a lot of energy when hunting.
C. They lose their weight during the daytime.
D. They are growing and need the food.
7. According to this passage, predators are
A. meat eaters.
B. dangerous animals.
C. plant eaters.
D. garden pests.
8. What is the main purpose of this passage?
A. to show differences among mammals
B. to discuss the ladybug and larvae as predators
C. to illustrate how the environment affects bugs
D. to describe the hardships of the ladybug
Type the answer to the open response question in the space provided.
Describe the similarities and differences between ladybugs and
ladybug larvae. Use information from the passage to help support
your description.