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!
9 thoughts on “Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: A Plague of Ladybugs”
Years ago, the lovely little ladybug that made it’s way up your arm was a pleasant companion. In recent years, here in Ohio, they well give you a bite but look as innocent as ever.
I was terrified of ladybugs when I was a kid because I got bitten young. My parents never believed that they bite and thought it was ridiculous that I was scared of them. Sorry you’ve had similar mandibular experienced with your ladybugs! Makes them a lot less pleasant, doesn’t it?
very cool! amazing variation in a beautiful creature.
I like to use ladybugs in outreach presentations because you can make comparisions between them and the individual variations you see in people very easily. It helps kids understand that insects can exhibit a lot of differences between individuals too. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that most people are willing to pick up a ladybug to get a close look at it too. :)
All the colors and patterns remind me of Koi fish. Beautiful!
Thanks! And yes, they are rather like koi in that regard.
In the UK in 1976 we had a plague of ladybirds. They covered buildings, the ladybirds were several centimetres thick. I remember walking up some steps by the beach and crunching on them. It was ghastly but there was nothing else you could do. :-(
Wow! That is a LOT of ladybugs! That would be impressive to see. Sorry you had to squish some of them though…
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