11 Colorful Bugs That Look Like Ladybugs

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Updated: August 6, 2023
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Ladybugs, commonly known as ladybirds in Great Britain or lady beetles in other parts of the world, are widespread insects in the family Coccinellidae. There are more than 5,000 described species of small to medium-sized lady beetles. They come in different colors and patterns, but the seven-spotted ladybugs with glossy, red-and-black bodies are the most common ones.

Most ladybugs have oval, oblong oval, or dome-shaped bodies with six short legs and range in size from 0.03-0.7 inches (0.8 to 18 mm) long. Depending on the species, they can have unique stripes, spots, or no markings. Although they appear colorful to humans, their markings protect them from predators by warning them that they are distasteful. 

Ladybugs inhabit many habitats, including suburbs, cities, forests, grasslands, and rivers. During winter, ladybugs hibernate in warm, secluded places, such as under the rocks, in rotting logs, or even inside houses.

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Despite their distinct appearance, ladybugs are often confused with other bugs. However, ladybugs behave differently compared to other insects. This article examines colorful bugs that look like ladybugs and how you can differentiate them. Read on for more information!

Infographic of 11 Colorful Bugs That Look Like Ladybugs
Argus Tortoise Beetles and Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetles resemble ladybugs.

1. The Beetle-Mimicking Cockroach

Prosoplecta

Beetle-mimicking cockroaches are in the

Prosoplecta

genus.

©Horace Knight / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – License

The Beetle-Mimicking Cockroach
Scientific NameProsoplecta (genus)
ColorBlack, grey, yellow, and brown
SizeUp to 1.5 inches (4 cm) long
HabitatPrefer warm places, such as storerooms, kitchens, leaf litter, under log piles, and among debris

Although many cockroaches are brown or black in appearance, a few, particularly those in the Prosoplecta genus, resemble ladybugs. Like seven-spot ladybugs, numerous Prosoplecta cockroaches have reddish bodies with black spots. Besides, a few Asian cockroaches in the genus have bright orange bodies similar to those of lady beetles.

2. The Ladybird-Mimicking Spider

Paraplectana

Ladybird-mimicking spiders have yellow-orange legs.

©hellomumu/Shutterstock.com

The Ladybird-Mimicking Spider
Scientific NameParaplectana (genus)
ColorOrange-red or yellow-orange
HabitatRange from rainforests and deserts to backyards and everything in between

Spiders in the Paraplectana genus, such as the Paraplectana tsushimensis, are also very similar to ladybugs. They have orange-red or yellow-orange dome-shaped bodies with black marks, and their heads are yellow-orange and have no marks.

On the other hand, ladybugs have black heads. Besides, most ladybugs have all-black legs, but ladybird-mimicking spiders have yellow-orange legs.

3. Golden Tortoise Beetle

Golden tortoise beetle feeds on leaf

Golden tortoise beetles have a distinct golden color that changes depending on the situation they find themselves in.

©SIMON SHIM/Shutterstock.com

Golden Tortoise Beetle
Scientific NameCharidotella sexpunctata
ColorGolden
Size0.2 to 0.3 inches (5 to 7 mm)
HabitatGardens, forests, or bushes

Golden tortoise beetles are a species of beetles in the Chrysomelidae family. These beetles get their name from their mirror-like golden bodies, but they can also be reddish-brown with black spots. They closely resemble ladybugs in shape and size. Their distinct golden color changes depending on the situation they find themselves in. For example, they may become red-brown during mating. Color changes can also be observed when these beetles hydrate or sense danger.

4. Mottled Tortoise Beetle

Deloyala guttata - Mottled Tortoise Beetle

Mottled tortoise beetles are commonly found in Central and North America.

©Ilona Loser / CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Mottled Tortoise Beetle
Scientific NameDeloyala guttata
ColorGold, brown, black, yellow, green, and orange
Size0.2 inches 
HabitatFields, meadows, gardens, lawns, and yards

Mottled tortoise beetles are another species in the family Chrysomelidae. These beetles don’t have dome-shaped bodies like ladybugs. Their close resemblance is typically linked to their small heads and stripe-like markings on their shiny golden backs. Mottled tortoise beetles are commonly found in Central and North America.

5. Argus Tortoise Beetle

Argus Tortoise Beetle

The Argus tortoise beetle closely resembles a ladybug in terms of body size, body shape, and markings on its back.

©iStock.com/bookguy

Argus Tortoise Beetle
Scientific NameChelymorpha cassidea
ColorYellow to bright red with black spots
Size0.35 to 0.47 inches (9 to 12 mm)
HabitatMeadows and roadsides

The Argus tortoise beetle, also known as the milkweed tortoise beetle, is a leaf beetle species in the Chrysomelidae family. Its name comes from Argus Panoptes, the Greek mythological figure, a creature with multiple eyes. It’s one of the largest leaf beetles native to North America and is best known for having a yellow-red or dark yellow body with black spots on its back. 

The Argus tortoise beetle closely resembles a ladybug in terms of body size, body shape, and markings on its back. However, Argus tortoise beetles can stretch their heads the way turtles do, making them different from ladybugs.

6. Spotted Cucumber Beetle

Spotted Cucumber Beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata) on the tip of a leaf.

Spotted cucumber beetles rarely grow larger than 0.2 inches.

©iStock.com/Brett_Hondow

Spotted Cucumber Beetle
Scientific NameDiabrotica undecimpunctata
ColorGreenish-yellow with black spots
Size0.2 inches (0.5 cm)
HabitatCucumber and squash crops

Spotted cucumber beetles resemble yellow ladybugs, and they are greenish-yellow with black spots. Their small black heads further mimic the physical traits of most ladybugs. However, unlike the dome-shaped ladybugs, spotted cucumber beetles rarely grow larger than 0.2 inches. In comparison, some ladybug species can reach 0.7 inches long.

7. Bean Leaf Beetle

bean leaf beetle

The bean leaf beetle has four black spots on its back and a non-spotted morph.

©iStock.com/mirceax

Bean Leaf Beetle
Scientific NameCerotoma trifurcata 
ColorRed, gold, or yellow with black spots
Size0.14 to 0.22 inches (3.5 to 5.5 mm)
HabitatCrop fields and woodlot leaf litter

The bean leaf beetle is a beetle species in the family Chrysomelidae that’s commonly found in bean, alfalfa, and soy crops. It has a golden coloring with black spots, which is why it’s often confused with many ladybug species. 

The bean leaf beetle has four black spots on its back and a non-spotted morph. However, unlike a ladybug’s head, which is usually spotted, bean leaf beetle heads are always black.

8. Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle

Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle on Swamp Milkweed Plant

Swamp milkweed leaf beetles and ladybugs have similar sizes.

©iStock.com/ErikAgar


Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle
Scientific NameLabidomera clivicollis
ColorRed or orange with black marks
SizeAbout 0.3 to 0.4 inches (8 to 11 mm)
HabitatRoadsides or grassy areas, preferably on the milkweeds it eats

The swamp milkweed leaf beetle is another leaf beetle species in the Chrysomelidae family. It’s often confused with the red ladybug species due to its similar dome-shaped body with orange or red coloring and black spots. Besides, swamp milkweed leaf beetles and ladybugs have similar sizes.

However, looking closely, you can differentiate the two species by observing their black marks. Most swamp milkweed leaf beetles have considerably larger spots than ladybugs.

9. Larger Elm Leaf Beetle

Larger Elm Leaf Beetle - Monocesta coryli, G. R. Thompson Wildlife Management Area, Linden, Virginia

Larger elm leaf beetles are rather pear-shaped than dome-shaped.

©Judy Gallagher / CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Larger Elm Leaf Beetle
Scientific NameMonocesta coryli
ColorYellow-orange body with black spots
Size0.4 to 0.6 inches (10 to 16 mm)
HabitatForests

The larger elm leaf beetle is the only species of the large neotropical genus Monocesta found in the United States. It is commonly found in forests. Like ladybugs, this species has a yellow-orange body and four large dark marks. Although their body shape is similar to that of ladybugs, larger elm leaf beetles are rather pear-shaped than dome-shaped.

10. Grapevine Beetle

Grapevine Beetle

The grapevine beetle is also known as a spotted June beetle or a spotted pelidnota.

©Paul Reeves Photography/Shutterstock.com

Grapevine Beetle
Scientific NamePelidnota punctata
ColorYellow
Size1 to 1.2 inches (25.4 to 30.5 mm)
HabitatForests and woods

The grapevine beetle, also known as the spotted June beetle or spotted pelidnota, is a type of scarab beetle that resembles a ladybug. It has an off-yellow color with four small black marks on each side. Like most ladybugs, grapevine beetles also have all-black legs.

11. Eight-Spotted Flea Beetle

Eight-spotted Flea Beetle

The eight-spotted flea beetle has a black body with white spots, almost similar to those of ladybugs.

©eera5607/Shutterstock.com

Eight-Spotted Flea Beetle
Scientific NameOmophoita cyanipennis
ColorBlack body and white spots
SizeAround 0.7 inch (18 mm)
HabitatCommon in leaf litter and wooded areas

The eight-spotted flea beetle is a small insect in the family Chrysomelidae that is commonly sighted in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean Sea. It has a black body with white spots, almost similar to those of ladybugs. Moreover, like most ladybugs, the eight-spotted flea beetle has a spotted head, which usually features only one white mark. Moreover, its body is more elongated than the dome-shaped ladybug’s.

Summary of 11 Colorful Bugs That Look Like Ladybugs

Here’s a recap of the 11 bugs we looked at that resemble ladybugs.

NumberBugScientific NameColor
1The Beetle-Mimicking CockroachProsoplecta (genus)Black, grey, yellow, and brown
2The Ladybird-Mimicking SpiderParaplectana (genus)Orange-red or yellow-orange
3Golden Tortoise BeetleCharidotella sexpunctataGolden
4Mottled Tortoise BeetleDeloyala guttataGold, brown, black, yellow, green, and orange
5Argus Tortoise BeetleChelymorpha cassideaYellow to bright red with black spots
6Spotted Cucumber BeetleDiabrotica undecimpunctataGreenish-yellow with black spots
7Bean Leaf BeetleCerotoma trifurcata Red, gold, or yellow with black spots
8Swamp Milkweed Leaf BeetleLabidomera clivicollisRed or orange with black marks
9Larger Elm Leaf BeetleMonocesta coryliYellow-orange body with black spots
10Grapevine BeetlePelidnota punctataYellow
11Eight-Spotted Flea BeetleOmophoita cyanipennisBlack body and white spots

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/DE1967


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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

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Sources
  1. Science Direct, Available here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123741448001569
  2. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabrotica_undecimpunctata