Members of this beetle family are recognized for their characteristic dome shape. Brightly coloured for the most part, lady beetles have black spots when their wing covers are yellow, orange or red, and yellow or orange spots when their wings are black. The short antennae have little knobs on the end.
Lady beetle larvae are usually elongate and have brightly coloured spots or bands as well as spines and tubercles. Some larvae have been described as resembling tiny alligators.