Why Ladybugs Aren’t Always Red With Black Spots

Savannah Geary of SciShow explained that, while many ladybugs look like their cartoon versions, not all of the species are colored red with black spots.

Ladybugs are red with black spots, right? Well, not always. There’s a lot of genetic and evolutionary reasons that they can be different colors with wacky patterns.

In fact, that specific pattern is due to a recessive gene, a transcription factor known as penier. When a ladybug is black with red spots, it means the transcription pattern is reverse. And a ladybug’s spiky larval stage looks nothing like the delicate beetle they later become.

Black Ladybug With Red Spots

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.