Nine-spotted Ladybug (Coccinella novemnotata)

The Nine-spotted Ladybug, a once abundant species found in the northeastern United States, has unfortunately become a rare sight in recent times.

If you find yourself in the position of tending to some of these beautiful ladybugs as pets, this Coccinella novemnotata guide is for you.

This insect is incredibly easy to care for and provides biological benefits that no other pet can.

In this article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about setting up the perfect home and caring for the Nine-spotted Ladybug.

Common Name Nine-spotted Ladybug
Family Name Coccinellidae
Scientific Name Coccinella novemnotata
Use Pest Control, Pets
Temperament Non-aggressive
Lifespan Up to 6 months
Diet Omnivorous
Adult Size 4.7-7 mm
Breeding Type Egg Layer
Care Level Easy
Minimum Tank Size 5 Gallon
pH 6-8
Hardness Moderate
Temperature 63-86 °F

What Are Nine-spotted Ladybugs?

Nine-spotted Ladybugs, or Coccinella novemnotata, are a species of ladybug belonging to the family Coccinellidae.

The nine spots on their back are the main feature that sets them apart from other ladybugs.

They live in various habitats such as grassy meadows, gardens, and farms, and they are native to North America.

What Do Nine-spotted Ladybugs Look Like?

Coccinella novemnotata is about 4.7-7 mm in length and has a round, dome-shaped body.

These ladybugs tend to have a bright red head and thorax, while the legs and underside of their body tend to be black.

They are also known for having small black spots on the center and sides of their wings.

Additionally, the legs and antennae are long in length and their heads have small white dots.

Benefits Of Using Nine-spotted Ladybugs

Coccinella novemnotata makes great additions to many types of vivariums.

To start, they are gorgeous to look at – they have a stunning red body with their signature nine black spots and yellow-tipped antennae.

Beyond their beautiful colors, they also help to keep the tank clean by feeding on a variety of pests, such as small insects like mites.

This can be incredibly useful in keeping the environment stable and balanced.

Coccinella novemnotata: A Nine-spotted Ladybug Guide!

Nine-spotted Ladybug Facts

The Nine-spotted Ladybugs is a stunning species of ladybug known for its distinct coloring and markings.

This species of ladybird is one of the most common in North America and the official insect of New York.

Their behavior is mostly gentle, but they can become overwhelmed if over-handled and stressed.


Coccinella novemnotata originally come from North America.

They have an incredibly wide range and can also be found in countries like Europe, Asia, Russia, Japan, and parts of Latin America.

These ladybugs prefer to inhabit grasslands, fields, and other protected areas with vegetation.

They are drawn to areas with plenty of flower presence, like daisies, clover, and yarrow.

Nine-spotted Ladybugs also have an affinity to fruit trees, fields planted with corn and wheat, and parks with manicured lawns.

They can be found amongst weeds, treetops, stones, and park benches.

In their natural habitats, Nine-spotted Ladybirds usually establish colonies, as they reproduce quickly.


Coccinella novemnotata is an omnivorous species, which means it can consume a variety of different types of food.

In their natural habitats, Nine-spotted Ladybugs feed mostly on aphids and other types of insects.

They will readily feed on plant nectar as well as pollen from flowers and plants.

Nine-spotted Ladybugs also consume aphid honeydew and dead larvae of other insects.

In rare cases, they have been observed to have a taste for fatty foods, such as the fats and oils of other insects.

As an occasional treat, C. novemnotata has also been seen to eat other dead ladybugs. 


Nine-spotted Ladybugs are gentle and docile creatures that prefer to remain away from humans and other animals.

They are capable of giving off a scent when disturbed, similar to how the larger Seven-spotted Ladybug emits a foul smell.

However, Coccinella novemnotata generally does not give off this scent unless the situation calls for it.

Generally, they should be kept away from children and pets, as they can become stressed if handled or touched excessively.

In most cases, they will avoid people and other animals.

If their habitat is disturbed, they may fly away in search of a quieter place to rest. 

Nine-spotted Ladybugs have a happy disposition when left undisturbed in the right environment.

They are fairly active, flying around their habitat looking for food and exploring their surroundings.

After eating, they will often rest on leaves or branches over or near their food.

Once they are familiar with their environment, they may even follow their keepers around their enclosure, relying on them to find food.

With patience, care, and dedication, you may even get the chance to observe some of their behaviors such as mating or defending their territory.


The lifespan of Coccinella novemnotata can range anywhere from a few months up to half a year.

The spotted ladybug goes through several life stages, beginning with the egg.

Females lay eggs in a cluster on the underside of leaves, and after a few days, the eggs hatch into larvae.

This phase can last for a month or two, depending on the temperature and food supply.

The larvae eat a lot of aphids before finally undergoing pupation.

Upon pupation, new adult ladybugs emerge after around 7-10 days, and this species has one or two more generations a year depending on the weather. 

Once they reach adulthood, Nine-spotted Ladybugs will feed off of aphids, scale insects, and mealybugs.

When the mating season begins, males and females will find each other and the females will lay their egg clusters, thus starting the cycle anew.


Nine-spotted Ladybugs reproduce by mating with an opposite-gender specimen.

Mating behaviors among Nine-spotted Ladybugs are quite complex and involve different stages of courtship and copulation.

For example, as part of the courtship process, males often draw circles in the ground around the female as a sign of their attraction.

The male will then grasp the female’s head with his jaws while the female grips his back with her hind legs, forming what is known as a mating wheel.

The pair then exchange their reproductive organs until fertilization of the eggs is complete.

After mating, the male and female Coccinella novemnotata will part ways and the female can then begin the process of laying eggs.

Female ladybugs can lay up to 300 eggs during their lifetime, usually depositing them in a warm, safe place away from potential predators.

Where To Find Nine-spotted Ladybugs

Even though these beetles are slowly becoming rarer, finding Coccinella novemnotata in the wild is not difficult if you know where to look.

These ladybugs are native to parts of North America, including the Eastern and Midwestern states.

They are very common in areas with lots of grasses and other vegetation, and the best way to find them is to look closely along the edge of fields or meadows during the late spring and early summer. 

For those who want to purchase a Nine-spotted Ladybug for their home or garden, they’re widely available online and in some pet stores.

Many garden and home improvement stores carry pre-sealed canisters of ladybugs, some of which may include Nine-spotted Ladybugs among other varieties. 

It’s important to note that purchasing ladybugs may not be the best method for releasing ladybugs into your garden or surrounding areas, since the species of ladybugs found in the canister may not be native to your area. 

Nine-spotted Ladybug Care

To care for Coccinella novemnotata, you should create a suitable environment for them, feed and provide them with proper nutrition, understand their sexual behavior and mating practices, and identify and fix any potential issues.

Tank Requirements

When setting up the ideal tank for Nine-spotted Ladybugs, an appropriate terrarium type should be chosen.

The best option is a tank made of glass or plastic, with a secure lid with ventilation holes, that is at least 10 gallons in size.

To house these bugs, the enclosure should keep a pH level of around 6-7, hardness of 8-12°, temperature between 65-70° F, and humidity of 60-70%.

A terrarium substrate of peat moss and coconut coir should be added to the tank, and a water dish should be available at all times.

Additionally, if possible, terrarium light should be provided, as Coccinella novemnotata need some exposure to UV light for optimal health.

What Do Nine-spotted Ladybugs Eat?

Feeding a Nine-spotted Ladybug unfortunately requires more effort than regular ladybugs, as they are predators that must be fed live food.

Fortunately, they are generalists and can eat a variety of small prey items.

Here is a guide on how to properly feed Coccinella novemnotata

  1. Identify good sources of live food: Fruit flies, aphids, small mealworms, or small caterpillars make excellent prey items for ladybugs. 
  2. Separate prey items: When you introduce live food into your environment, do so one at a time, or slowly introduce them in small groups over time. This will help to lessen competition and encourage more natural foraging and hunting behavior.
  3. Feeding times: Nine-spotted Ladybugs should be fed at least 1-2 times a day. If available, you can supplement their diet with nectar or diluted honey for extra hydration.
  4. Clean up: Dead or uneaten prey should be removed after each meal. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria or diseases that can harm your Nine-spotted Ladybug.

If you’re looking for a more detailed approach to feeding these critters, be sure to check out my ultimate DIY ladybug food guide. I give a more in-depth explanation of the best foods and my favorite recipe.

What Do Ladybugs Eat? | Best Ladybug Food + DIY Recipes!

Best Tankmates For Nine-spotted Ladybugs

The ideal tankmates for Coccinella novemnotata are species that provide them with a sense of security from potential predators, as well as plenty of food sources.

Species that are commonly kept as tankmates with Nine-spotted Ladybugs include praying mantises, spiders, ground beetles, and vine weevils.

When kept with other insects, spotted lady beetles are also known to feed on aphids, an effective method of pest control.

Finally, certain small lizards, such as anoles and geckos, can also be kept as tankmates with Nine-spotted Ladybugs.

These animals are effective predators of many of the potential pests that can affect C. novemnotata and provide plenty of food sources for them as well.

As long as the enclosure is large enough and the temperatures are kept at a suitable level, these animals can provide a good home for both ladybugs and their tankmates.


So there you have it – our guide to Coccinella novemnotata care.

From understanding their habitat and behavior to providing the proper food and nutrition, to identifying any potential issues…

This guide provides all the information you need to keep your Nine-spotted Ladybug thriving.

Remember to be patient and observant, and your spotted lady beetles will thank you for it!

Frequently Asked Questions

It is considered one of the rarest species of ladybug, with only small populations in its native range of North America.

Yes, the nine-spotted ladybug (Coccinella novemnotata) is considered endangered due to a significant decline in its population over the past century.

The nine-spotted ladybug (Coccinella novemnotata) is endangered due to habitat loss, pesticide use, competition from non-native ladybug species, and climate change, all of which have significantly reduced its population.

The nine-spotted ladybug (Coccinella novemnotata) primarily feeds on aphids, scale insects, and other soft-bodied insects, making them beneficial predators in agricultural and garden ecosystems.

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