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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Biological Control of Pests Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #319616

Title: Characteristics of a laboratory strain of Coleomegilla maculata with a novel heritable wing spot pattern trait

item Allen, Margaret - Meg

Submitted to: Advances in Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/26/2016
Publication Date: 1/29/2016
Publication URL:
Citation: Allen, M.L. 2016. Characteristics of a laboratory strain of Coleomegilla maculata with a novel heritable wing spot pattern trait. Advances in Entomology. 4:47-60.

Interpretive Summary: A U.S. native lady beetle, Coleomegilla maculata, was bred in captivity and produced insects that had unique colors and spot patterns. These unique individuals were separated from the parent colony and inbred until the colors and patterns bred true; all the offspring had the unique color and pattern. The pattern variation was a merging of black spots, and the strain was named “ten spotted”. The genetics of the pattern were determined by cross-breeding experiments, and the relative health of the strain was compared to the parent laboratory strains. This research gives scientists new clues to understanding how and why lady beetles have their colors and spots, which signal to predators that they are toxic.

Technical Abstract: The lady beetle Coleomegilla maculata is a common New World insect that is naturally colored pink to red or orange with black spots on the forewings of the adult stage. Previous laboratory inbreeding resulted in selection for a strain lacking red pigment in the cuticle and eyes. An additional strain selected for a novel spotting pattern is described here. The inheritance of the new trait, “ten spotted” (10sp), was determined by classical crossing experiments. Inheritance of the trait was autosomal and exhibited incomplete dominance. Bionomic strain measurements were compared to the parental strains and were similar overall. Two expressed sequences from C. maculata that may be related to the new phenotype were compared to model insect genes encoding a melanin biosynthesis enzyme and a patterning transcription factor.