Ladybirds, also known as ladybugs, move by crawling and flying. Attached to the thorax, which is the middle section between the head and the abdomen, are three sets of legs that enable them to crawl on solid objects and two sets of wings. One is a hard, outer protective set, underneath which is a sensitive flight set.
The ladybird's body has an exoskeleton composed of a protein similar to that in human nails and hair. Besides the thorax, the body consists of the head and the abdomen. The head has a mouth, compound eyes and antennae. The abdomen houses the ladybird's reproductive, digestive and respiratory organs. Ladybirds breathe air, but instead of breathing through their mouths, they breathe through openings in their thoraxes and abdomens.
Ladybirds are distinctive for their bright colors of red, orange and yellow. These colors, as well as a foul-smelling chemical they project, protect them from most predators. Many types of ladybirds are carnivorous and are considered useful to gardeners, as their prey includes garden pests such as aphids, mites, fruit flies and other plant-devouring insects. Some farmers and gardeners introduce ladybirds among their plants and crops as alternative pest removers instead of pesticides. Female ladybirds deposit tiny eggs on the underside of leaves. When the caterpillar-like larvae hatch, they each eat 350 to 400 aphids in the two weeks it takes for them to grow into pupae. On average, ladybirds live one to two years.