Ladybirds from the family Coccinellidae Latreille, 1807 are also commonly known as Ladybugs in North America, but are actually not true bugs but beetles. That is why some prefer to use the name ladybird beetles rather than ladybugs to avoid any confusion caused by the misnomer. Ladybirds are one of the few insects that are not actively disliked as they are often seen feeding on aphids and can be pretty useful insects for getting rid of these agricultural pests. However, those in the subfamily Epilachninae do feed on the leaves of certain crops as well.
The name “ladybird” originated in Britain because early paintings often portrayed Mary (Our Lady) wearing a red cloak or veil. The most common ladybird in Europe – the seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) – had spots that were said to symbolize her seven joys and seven sorrows. According to an old European legend, farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary asking for help to save them from the pests devouring their crops, and she sent a swarm of tiny beetles bearing her trademark coat to eat them. Hence, this family of insects became known as “Our Lady’s Bird” or what we now know as the Lady Beetle. 
Many countries had different names for these beetles, and some had similar references to God, Virgin Mary or cows, perhaps drawing similarities from the cow’s spots. 
- Germany: Marienkäfer (Mary’s beetle)
- France: la bete a bon Dieu (good God’s animal)
- Russia: Bozhya korovka (God’s little cow)
- Greece: paschalitsa (little Easter)
- Portugal: joaninha (little Joanne)
- Spain: mariquita (little Maria)
- Wales: buwch goch gota (small red cow)
- Scotland: daolag-bhreac (speckled beetle)
- Slovenia: pikapolonica (spotty bug)
- Argentina: Vaquita de San Antonio (St. Anthony’s small cow)
The family’s scientific name Coccinellidae is derived from the word coccineus in Latin, which means “scarlet”, as the most common ladybirds then were typically brilliant red in colour.
This page consists of a personal checklist of all Ladybirds / Ladybugs / Lady Beetles / Coccinellidae that I’ve encountered over the years. Many were identified by Adam Slipinski via Flickr. Some are still not identified, so any assistance on identification will be appreciated!
All photos are of live subjects shot in the field, with the dorsal view selected where available. Click on individual photos for larger views and views from other angles. As specimens were not collected, identifications were done purely based on photographs and may not be 100% accurate.
This post will be updated regularly, please let me know if you spot any mistakes.
View my complete Flickr photo set: Coccinellidae – Ladybirds.