Genetics and Characteristics of a Pigmentation Defective Laboratory Strain of the Lady Beetle, Coleomegilla maculata


Beetles in the family Coccinellidae, commonly known as ladybugs, lady beetles, or ladybirds, are easily identifiable and popular beneficial insects. Current research aims to support conservation efforts of beneficial insects in agroecosystems by exploring genetic processes related to nutrition. As a part of this research, colonies of Coleomegilla maculata have been maintained in culture and inbred over many generations since 2009. One result of this inbreeding has been the discovery of novel morphological phenotypes unique to laboratory strains or present in wild populations at such low levels that they have not yet been described. One such phenotype is described here. The strain described here, ye (yellow elytra and eyes) was characterized with classical Mendelian breeding and digital image analysis. This phenotype differs from wild populations by possessing yellow pigment in the elytra and pale grey to white eyes. In contrast, wild populations of C. maculata possess pink or red pigmented elytra with black spots, and black eyes. C. maculata is not known to exhibit polymorphism in the field. Inheritance is autosomal and recessive. This species was not previously known to exhibit the dramatic variation of color described here. The strain is stable in the homozygous recessive form, and retains laboratory rearing characteristics similar to the wild type laboratory strain.

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Allen, M. and Ballenger, J. (2014) Genetics and Characteristics of a Pigmentation Defective Laboratory Strain of the Lady Beetle, Coleomegilla maculata. Advances in Entomology, 2, 161-166. doi: 10.4236/ae.2014.24024.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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