Tattoos often look the best when they come with clean, simple, eye-catching designs. One of nature’s simplest and most appealing examples of this can be seen in our red-and-black spotted friend, the ladybug!
Ladybugs are not only symbols of good luck, but they’re visually regarded as one of the cuter bugs in a world where most insects are creepy-looking. With such an instantly recognizable look, it’s no wonder these insects make a popular choice for tattoos.
What is the History of Ladybug Tattoos?
In order to gain some idea of why these cute bugs make great tattoos, it can be a good idea to learn their history!
Ladybugs are a tiny example of the beetle family. If found in Great Britain, they are better known as “ladybirds,” and if you ask an entomologist, they may be known as “ladybird beetles” or simply “lady beetles.”
As far as plant life and the ecosystem go, ladybugs are considered heroes! This is because their food of choice are aphids and scale insects. Scale insects are the tiny black critters that like to eat the hardiest of plants, such as succulents, while aphids are known for eating through most plants for the sap inside. However, with ladybugs around, plants are safe from these predators!
Though they are most often seen in and known for their red color with striking black spots, this bug actually comes in six thousand different species, some of which are brown with white spots or gold with black stripes! There is even one remarkable type of ladybug that is bright yellow with a total of twenty-two black spots.
You’ll typically begin to see these critters in the summer months. They love warm weather and it provides them with the perfect temperature to hunt for aphids. Ladybugs are also not too shy to come indoors when the weather gets colder, and may be found in people’s houses. This is because these bugs live for one full year, and can’t survive icy temperatures.
Not only do farmers sometimes catch and release these bugs to live in their crops as protectors from harmful insects, but various cultures think of ladybugs fondly, too! In places like Russia and Italy, if you see one of these insects, it is traditional to make a wish instead of squishing it.
In Christian circles, the red and black bug is associated with Mary, the mother of Jesus. One Polish nursery rhyme, “Little Ladybirds’ Anthem,” is quoted as part of a common saying to this day.
Most recently, the 2015 animated television series, “Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir,” features a girl superhero character who’s public identity, costume and powers are based on the bug of the same name! In fact, it has gained such popularity that it has prompted a feature film debuting in 2022!
Thanks to the species’ good looks, symbolism, and popularity in pop culture around the globe, it is no wonder that the lady beetle makes such a great tattoo design!
What Do Ladybug Tattoos Symbolize?
Tattoos of this spotted insect can symbolize many things, especially because of their widespread distribution in many countries and cultures! One main symbol they represent in various cultures is protection. This is thanks to farmers around the world noticing that their crops do better with the ladybug around, eating enemy insects.
This is also one of the reasons that the monochromatic beetle is thought to symbolize good luck and the fulfillment of wishes.
Not only that, but the way that the creature grows through several phases and survives through the seasons symbolizes resilience.
Finally, one of the oldest symbolic associations of the ladybug is with the Virgin Mary, both in Christian and Roman Catholic circles. In fact, the beetle probably got the “lady” part of it’s name from associating it with “Our Lady Mary.” Therefore, not only can the bug symbolize faith, but femininity.
What Do Ladybug Tattoos Mean?
Tattoos of this incredible bug can mean several different things! Check out the list below to see a few of the most popular designs and learn their meanings:
- Scientific Journal Illustration
- Feminism Bicycle
- Dandelion Ride
Let’s get a closer look at some of these most popular versions of the ladybug tattoo and figure out their meanings.
1. Scientific Journal Illustration
One tattoo design features not only a detailed-sketch style, but usually a small “fig. 1” annotation near it, as if the bug is an illustration taken right out of a scientific journal.
This can have a few meanings. One can simply allude to the wearer’s admiration for the bug, or for the interesting scientific studies done on the bug, or both.
2. Feminism Bicycle
This tattoo is a clever spin on a famous illustration of a fish riding a bicycle, replacing the fish with the bug. The first drawing was illustrative of a feminist quote, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle!”
Of course, what better creature to replace the fish in this case than a beetle who can not only fly without needing a bicycle, but even has “lady” in it’s name? It is pretty clear that this tattoo means the wearer is a feminist or at least finds the illustration amusing!
3. Dandelion Ride
Because ladybugs are wished upon whenever they land on someone in many cultures, it is no surprise that this design features one gracefully hitching a ride on a flower that is also said to grant wishes when you blow away it’s seeds.
This tattoo means that the wearer believes in wishes coming true, or admires both the dandelion and the ladybug!
Characteristics and Styles of Ladybug Tattoos
Because of their appealingly simplistic bodies and spots, most ladybug tattoos are monochromatic, meaning they are either black or only featured red if they are colored. However, when the illustration of the bug is combined with something else, like a flower or a different animal, the tattoo may include more color.
The most popular style of many tattoos featuring this insect is it’s small size. If you’re looking for a tattoo that is easily covered or more subtle, a tiny, round ladybug is the way to go.
Where Do Ladybug Tattoos Usually Go?
Because of their popularity as smaller tattoos, it is very common to see the bugs tattooed on the hand, fingers, thumb, and wrist. However, larger illustrations may be seen anywhere on the body.
In summary, ladybug tattoos symbolize good fortune, protection, and femininity. They are often small and monochromatic if colored at all, and for this reason they make great tattoos for the hand or foot areas.
If someone is wearing a ladybug tattoo, it may mean that they have feminist ideals, believe in good luck, or simply love this popular and stylish type of beetle!