Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Ladybug Invader

Wow!  I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve blogged!  You wouldn’t believe the amount of life crap that seems to keep welling up recently, but I DO intend to come back to blogging as soon as I have just a little more time.  Until I can get a more substantial post up, here’s a quick Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday…

Last week I had the opportunity to teach a bunch of pre-school teachers about the Lost Ladybug Project during an educator workshop offered by the early childhood people at my museum.  The woman running the workshop requested that I bring live ladybugs for my presentation, so I went to the best source of I know of at this time of year: the trailer where my office is located.  Collecting the ladybugs couldn’t have been easier!  I just set out a jar and asked my 5 coworkers to deposit any live ladybugs they found.  24 hours later, I had 52 ladybugs for the teachers to attempt to identify!  They were a hit, but it seemed wrong to release my beetles before photographing them for Lost Ladybug considering that I was trying to convince these teachers to do exactly the same thing.  So, I took them home, set up a little photography studio on my dining table, and started shooting.  Most of my ladybug photos are pretty terrible because I take them with cameras that aren’t suited to photographing small insects and I almost always have to rush through the photos anyway, but this time I was able to pull out the big guns and get some decent shots.  This was my favorite:

Asian Multicolored Ladybug

Asian Multicolored Ladybug, Harmonia axyridis

It might not be native (and it’s likely invasive), but it’s pretty darned cute anyway.

Hope you’re all doing well!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth
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13 thoughts on “Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Ladybug Invader

  1. Great timing! I’ve been meaning to check up on the lady birds I have in my garden as they are much more numerous this spring. TI now see mine are Coccinella septempunctata. The reason I’ve been nervous is that everyone seems quite upset in the UK about the invasion of the Harmonia which are out competing the native species.

    • C. septempunctata is really common here too, though not native, but people don’t seem to worry about it as much as they do the Harmonia. The papers coming out about the interactions between Harmonia and native species in many countries aren’t looking good, so people are really worried about them here too. They seem to be quite destructive to other ladybugs!

  2. Glad you’re back. I’ve been worried about you. I, too, participate in the Lost Ladybug Project, and have found that the majority of the species I’ve submitted are also Harmonia axyridis.

    By the way, that was probably the “wordiest” Wordless post I’ve ever read.

    • Yep, I can’t do wordless because there’s no INFORMATION with it! I just can’t bring myself to do it. That’s why I call mine well-nigh wordless Wednesdays and not Wordless Wednesdats. I try to keep them under 200 words most of the time, but I clearly didn’t do that here. :)

  3. Thank you for the update. I missed hearing from you! :)
    Aside from the spiders sneaking in from the cold, there is not much insect activity in the frozen tundra yet. Won’t be long though!

  4. Interesting project. I hadn’t heard of it before. Last month, myself and 3 other local nature bloggers found an impressive overwintering site in the Santa Cruz Mountains here in CA of the native convergent: http://natureid.blogspot.com/2014/02/convergent-lady-beetle-021014-stevens.html. We had a sobering discussion about whether to even share our find online, because many nurseries and commercial garden centers wild-collect aggregations like this to sell – something we strongly discourage! Besides, it doesn’t actually work for pest control in the released garden (something about being collected in their winter diapause state and their documented need to fly before eating).

    • You know, there’s not a whole lot of evidence that releasing ladybugs in your garden does anything at all to help… It’s kinda sad to think that we actually imported a couple of species that are likely the root of several problems with our native species and that people harvest natives in droves from aggregations like the one you saw all in the hopes that they’ll provide some tiny measure of biocontrol in our gardens. I feel pretty good every time I lead ladybug hunts for Lost Ladybug and get bombarded by questions about whether buying ladybugs at nurseries does any good and how buyers can be sure they’re only releasing native species in their gardens. I also like the question, “Wait, so we brought these into our country INTENTIONALLY??!!” when they see just how few native ladybugs we find. Feel like they’re walking away with an important message and will actually think about the consequences of moving species around when I get questions like that.

    • It depends on the rest of the markings. Color isn’t a very good indicator of the species because there can be a lot of individual variation, but the rest of the markings should give a better idea. Do you have a photo of one I could take a look at?

    • I personally don’t think a creature’s level of cuteness depends on it’s status as a native species or not, but to each his own! Have you ever seen a nutria? Crazy invasive little buggers, but they are like mini-Loraxes running around ponds and lakes. They shouldn’t be anywhere near here, I know, and it makes me sad they are, but they are CUTE!

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