Just like butterflies, ladybugs go through metamorphosis! They start as a tiny egg that their parent laid in a neat row on the underside of a leaf. When these eggs hatch, the ladybug larvae don't eat plant matter, but begin to hunt other insects like aphids. These larvae don't look much like their parents, ladybug larvae look like little alligators. Their spiky backs protect them from predators. As the larvae eat and grow, they shed their skin, or molt, and prepare for the last phase of their transformation. The larvae becomes a pupa, attaching itself to a stem where it can be safe as it transforms into an adult ladybug.
When the adult ladybug emerges it needs to wait a little bit for its exoskeleton to harden. Once it does, the adult will explore its new environment, eat some aphids, and hopefully meet a mate so it can start this whole process over again!