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from the Latin septem = "seven" and punctata = "spots"
English: Lady Bug, Sun-chafer
Tincture of freshly crushed beetles
Animalia; Insecta (Hexapoda) - Insects; Rhynchota / Hemiptera; Coleoptera - Beetles (countless families.); Coccinellidae
Dr. Claussnitzer has instituted provings with the tincture of coccionella septem punctata; he prepared it from several thousands of the bugs which he met with one day in September, 1798, at noon, sitting in the sunshine.
Description of the substance
Coccinella septempunctata, the seven-spot ladybird (or, in North America, seven-spotted ladybug or seven-spotted lady beetle), is the most common ladybird in Europe. Its elytra are of a red colour, but punctuated with three black spots each, with one further spot being spread over the junction of the two, making a total of seven spots, from which the species derives both its common and scientific names (from the Latin septem = "seven" and punctata = "spots").
C. septempunctata has a broad ecological range, living almost anywhere where there are aphids for it to eat. Both the adults and the larvae are voracious predators of aphids, and because of this, C. septempunctata has been repeatedly introduced to North America as a biological control agent to reduce aphid numbers, and is now established in North America.
Coccinellids are brightly coloured to ward away potential predators. This defence works because most predators associate bright colours (especially orange and black or yellow and black) with poison and other unpleasant properties. This phenomenon is called aposematism. In fact, most coccinellids are indeed poisonous to smaller predators, such as lizards and small birds; however, a human would have to eat several hundred coccinellids before feeling any effects. Adult coccinellids are able to reflex-bleed from their leg joints, releasing their oily yellow toxin with a strong repellent smell. This becomes quite obvious when one handles a coccinellid roughly.
Most Coccinellids mate in the spring or summer, and the female lays a cluster of eggs (numbering from a few to a few hundred, depending on species) as near as possible to an aphid colony. In most species these eggs hatch into a larval state within a week. This state lasts 10-15 days, and they then go into a pupal stage before becoming an adult coccinellid. The entire life cycle of the Coccinellid is only 4-7 weeks.
Coccinellids lay extra infertile eggs with the fertile eggs. These appear to provide a backup food source for the larvae when they hatch. The ratio of infertile to fertile eggs increases with scarcity of food at the time of egg laying. (Perry & Roitberg, 2005)