Last week, I headed out of my office in our lovely construction trailer at work to go use the restroom in the other building when I saw a ladybug fly into the trailer. A half second later, I saw another on the steps to the door. Then I looked up. The trailer was absolutely CRAWLING with ladybugs! Hundreds of them! I ran back inside and grabbed my camera and snapped photos of all the ladybugs close enough to the ground that I could reach them. In less than three minutes, I had 66 photos of ladybugs – and there were far more than that up near the top of the trailer where I couldn’t reach them. Every one of them was the same species, the invasive Asian multicolored ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis. They have a rather wide range of color and spot patterns, so I decided to make a quick collage of some of the photos I took. These are all variations within a single species!
Impressive individual variation in this species – and my collage doesn’t even include any of the black variants! Pretty cool, and an excellent example of why counting spots shouldn’t be the only character you look for when identifying ladybugs.
I probably could have gotten more photos for my collage, but I realized after that 66th photo that I never did complete the trip to the restroom that had prompted me to leave the trailer in the first place. By the time I got back to the trailer, I couldn’t tell which ones I’d photographed and which ones I hadn’t, so I watched them crawl around a bit more and then went back inside to finish my work. They might be invasive, but there’s something pretty cool about seeing that many ladybugs in the same place at one time. Totally made my day!