Considering that they both belong to the class Insecta and have similar shapes and sizes, it is understandable that people cannot distinguish between ladybugs and Japanese beetles. The truth, however, is that the ladybug and japanese beetle have a plethora of differences, as we will see.
Comparison Between Ladybugs and Japanese Beetle
As we mentioned before, there are a ton of differences between a ladybug and a Japanese beetle and the table below summarizes them all.
|Location and habitats||Worldwide (AfricaAsia, Central America, Eurasia, EuropeNorth America, Oceania, South America).
Gardens, forests, hedgerows, meadows, pastures and courtyards.
|Native Asiabut also in Canada, the United States and parts of Europe.
Found everywhere, from forests to grasslands to farms.
|Cut||0.08-0.4 of an inch
|15mm (0.591 inch)
|Color||Brown, yellow, red, black, orange, pink and white.
Distinct black, yellow and reddish markings
|green and gold; copper-brown wing covers (elytra)|
|Physical appearance||Hemispherical and oval body, short legs and antennae.||Oval shape, club-shaped antennae, five tufts of white hair on each side of the abdomen.|
|Prey||Insects including aphids, beetles, spider mites, beetle larvae, thrips, caterpillars as well as other lady beetles.||Plants and plant life including grapes, peaches, gaiety, hibiscus, dahlia, chestnut, soybeans as well as sassafras.|
|predators||Birds, rodents, dragonflies, frogstoads, wasps, assassin insectsand drawing pins among others.||raccoons, moles, spiderswild birds and other insects.|
The main differences between ladybugs and Japanese beetles
Ladybugs and Japanese beetles have considerable differences in diet, location, color, and prey. For example, while ladybugs are carnivorous through and through, Japanese beetles are primarily herbivorous. How about going into more explicit details that will help us tell these two insects apart?
Ladybugs vs. Japanese Beetle: Location and Habitat
Although they are both insects, ladybugs and Japanese beetles have some variation in their location. Ladybugs are found all over the world, from Africa to Asia, including North America, South America, Central America, Europe and Oceania.
Japanese beetles, on the other hand, as you can probably tell from their name, are native to Southeast Asia. They have also been found in Canada and the United States and some researchers believe that their presence in North America can be attributed to iris bulb deliveries In the early 1900s.
Re habitats, ladybugs are at home in gardens, forests, meadows, hedgerows, yards and pastures. Japanese beetles often dwell anywhere from forests to grasslands to farms and they can also dwell in cities as long as they can find gardens around for food.
Ladybugs vs Japanese Beetles: Diet
Ladybugs and Japanese beetles also differ in diets and prey. Ladybugs have a carnivorous diet that includes other insects such as aphids, spider mites, beetles, small insects, caterpillars, and thrips, among others. They also explore cannibalism by feeding on other ladybugs, when the occasion calls for it.
Japanese beetles, on the other hand, are largely herbivorous and their diet consists of plants and vegetables ranging from grapes and peaches to dahlias and chestnuts. Their larvae, however, limit their diet to grass and other similar plants. Japanese beetles are considered very destructive to gardens and can take down an entire fruit tree in just about 15 minutes. You could call them the gardener’s bane.
Ladybugs vs Japanese beetles: physical appearance
Ladybugs have a shell skin type with hemispherical to oval bodies and six legs. They also have short legs, antennae, and colors such as brown, yellow, red, black, orange, pink, and white. However, the most popular species have a red carapace and distinct black, yellow and reddish markings/spots, making them very recognizable. Ladybugs also have joints with special abilities to release poisonous fluid to scare off predators. They might even bite if necessary.
Japanese beetles also have club-shaped oval antennae and five tufts of white hair on each side of the abdomen. They have a generally strong exoskeleton with a bronze/copper brown wing cover (elytra) protecting the other strong wings.
Ladybugs vs Japanese beetles: Size
Ladybugs and Japanese beetles are similar in that they are small in length, weight, and dimensions.
Ladybugs measure 0.08 to 0.4 inches in length and weigh about 0.007 ounces. Japanese beetles are a little longer with a length reaching around 0.591 to 1 inch, while also weighing 0.00291 ounces.
Ladybugs vs Japanese beetles: predators
Ladybugs and Japanese beetles have one thing in common with most other animals: predators. As much as they feed on other animals and plants, there are other species that also feed on them.
For ladybugs, their nemesis includes rodents, dragonflies, birds, frogs, wasps, assassin bugs, and bedbugs, among others. Japanese beetles, on the other hand, are often hunted by moles, raccoons, wild birds, spiders and other insects.
Ladybugs vs Japanese beetles: number of species
It would be interesting to know that there are more 5,000 species of ladybugs practically on all continents. The main and most popular categories include:
- The seven-spotted ladybug
- The thirteen-point ladybug
- Asian ladybug
- The spotted ladybug Coleomegilla
- Ladybug Hippodamia convergens
Even more interesting is the fact that Japanese beetles only have one species; as if it were a single species.
We have to admit; it is quite rare to find a member of the class Insecta with only one species. These figures show that there is a world of difference between ladybugs and Japanese beetles, in terms of species range.
Ladybugs vs Japanese beetles: conservation status
For ladybugs, the International Union for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Nature classifies them as “Near Threatened” which means that they could be threatened with extinction in the future. The conservation status of the Japanese beetle is, however, classified as “less worrymeaning they face no imminent threat that would put them at risk of extinction.
Isn’t it rather interesting that the ladybug with more than 5,000 species is threatened with extinction while the Japanese beetle with only one species faces no such risks?