I have had the good fortune to find a number of ladybugs this year in all phases of the life cycle. I must say that I didn't know what I was looking at half the time and only my searches on the Internet enlightened me. Now I am fascinated!
I pondered where to start this cycle (the age old chicken versus egg dilemma) but why not start with "love". :-)
A beautiful cluster of eggs!
The larva. Some people have described it as looking like a miniature alligator.
Here is the same larva in its defensive pose. I guess I got too close! Very Hallowe'enish to my mind.
The pupa. According to what I have read, the larva encases itself in a shell and becomes a pupa within which it transforms into the adult form.
Interestingly, the pupa does "headstands" every so often. I have yet to find an explanation for this. Perhaps it is necessary for metamorphosis or is an attempt to avoid predation.
The fully formed adult!