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Cryptolaemus montrouzieri

 Predator of Mealy Bug

Cryptolaemus montrouzieri is an Australian ladybird. Adult beetles can reach a length of 4 mm, and have black-brown wing-cases. Its head, thorax an abdomen are orange-brown. The Cryptolaemus larva can reach a length of 13 mm and can be recognized by its white downy wax secretion. Due to this secretion, the larva and its prey are as like as two peas in a pod. However, the larva of Cryptolaemus is longer, more mobile and its wax threads are longer than those of mealy bugs.

The development time (from egg to larva) depends mostly on temperature. It takes about 32 days at a temperature of 24°C. A female beetle lives approximately 2 months and lays 10 eggs a day in a mealy bug colony or in a group of mealy bug eggs.

Cryptolaemus is most active when the weather is sunny. A temperature of 22-25°C and a relative humidity of 70-80% are optimal for egg laying. The beetle is not active when temperature drops to 16°C (diapause). Temperatures above 33°C confuse the beetles when looking for prey.