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Posts Tagged ‘ladybird’

Yesterday my friend and photography mentor Cindy Dyer and I were photographing flowers in different parts of her garden when she excitedly called out to me that she had spotted a ladybug inside one of the irises. I rushed over and spotted a tiny Multi-colored Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis) feverishly crawling around inside of a beautiful yellow bearded iris.

I had a mental picture of composing an image in which the viewer would looking from the outside into the interior of the flower.  That meant that I could not get too close to the ladybug. It also meant that the ladybug had to cooperate by crawling into the right part of the frame. I watched and waited and eventually was able to capture the kind of artsy image that I had imagined.

ladybug in iris

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I love ladybugs and was thrilled to spot this one on Monday at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. When I posted this photo on Facebook, one viewer noted that this is a Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis), a non-native species that has become the most common species in the United States since it was deliberately introduced into the country in 1916 in an attempt to control the spread of aphids.

How can you tell a native ladybug from the Asian ladybug? Several sources on-line note that the Asian ladybug has a white marking behind its head in the openings of what looks like a black M, as you can see on the ladybug in my photo. If you are interested in learning more about the differences, check out this fascinating article at thespruce.com, The Differences Between Ladybugs and Asian Lady Beetles.

Whether native or not, this ladybug in my eyes is beautiful. If you want to see something really cool, click on the photo and check out the details on the ladybug’s front foot. I never knew that ladybugs have two tiny toes.

 

ladybug

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Those of you who know me well are probably surprised that I have not yet posted an insect photo from Paris. I have chased after a few hornets and flies, but came up pretty much empty-handed. Yesterday, however, I came upon this cool little ladybug on top of a pole blocking off a pedestrian zone and finally captured an urban insect photo worth posting.

All things considered, the ladybug was quite cooperative. She—the ladybug might be a male, but the name causes me to assume it is a female—crawled around the spherical surface on the top of the pole, giving me a number of different views. I do not have a true macro lens with me, but I do have a 24mm lens that is sharp and lets me get pretty close.

I initially tried shooting downward at the ladybug, but the results were not very exciting. When I bent down so I was at eye-level or maybe slightly lower, I got a cool, out of focus street background that I really like.

I do not know enough about ladybugs in France to know if this is a domestic one or is a foreign visitor—there are certainly plenty of those in Paris, present company included.

 

ladybug in Paris

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I love ladybugs but don’t see them very often.  I was therefore pretty happy on Monday when I spotted this one crawling around in the vegetation at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetlands Refuge. So often a ladybug will keep its head so close to the vegetation that it’s hard to see it, but this one cooperated by raising its head, almost like it was posing for me.

ladybug

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It’s difficult not to feel a bit like a voyeur when you spot a pair of ladybugs mating. They consummate the act in public view and their bold coloration makes them almost impossible to miss. Still, there is just something loveable about ladybugs and I doubt that many readers will find these images objectionable.

ladybug1A_love_blogladybug2_love_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Whether you call it a ladybug or ladybird or lady beetle, everyone enjoys seeing these brightly colored members of the Coccinellidae family. Little kids love them, gardeners like the fact that they consume aphids, and there is something cute and cheery about their appearance.

My good friend and fellow photographer Cindy Dyer spotted this ladybug during a quick trip that we made to Green Spring Gardens, a county-run historical garden not far from where I live. Cindy has already posted images on her blog of some of the many flowers in bloom that we observed yesterday—I got sidetracked by searching for insects and didn’t get as many flower photos.

Later in the year, I will almost certainly see lots of ladybugs, but this was the first one of the spring, so it is special for me.

ladybug_may_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I know that ladybugs don’t really have babies, but, seriously, how many people will read a posting with words like “larva” and “pupa” in the title? A more accurate title would be something like “Larva and Pupa of the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis).”

This past weekend I was wandering through a local garden when I spotted a strange-looking little yellow and black insect. Upon closer investigation, I discovered several more of them on the plant, along with some orange and black objects that I thought might be insects too, but they were not moving. This was a good excuse to take out my macro lens and to follow the old adage about shooting first and asking questions later.

After a bit of research, I realized that I had captured two different phases in the life cycles of a ladybug. Lady-bugs.org and ladybug-life-cycle.com offer additional details on the stages of development of a ladybug, but allow me to summarize for folks like me who don’t follow insects for a living. The ladybug’s life cycle is about four to six weeks long, with four stages (egg, larva, pupa, and adult). During the larval stage, the ladybug larvae shed their exoskeletons three times before the pupation stage begins. It is during the pupa stage that the metamorphosis takes place that is almost as magical as it is for butterflies and the insect that I photographed turns into a full grown ladybug.

Thanks to bugguide, I was able to identify my bug as the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis). The article notes that the larvae look like tiny alligators and grow to be larger in size than the eventual ladybug. It describes the pupa as “an elongated dome shape, usually found attached to a leaf, with the spiky remains of the last larval skin usually clinging to one end. The branched spines of this skin are usually visible.”

It was fascinating to discover the details of what I had photographed—metamorphosis never ceases to amaze me. Here are a couple of my favorite shots of the ladybug larvae and several of different pupa. Be sure to click on them to see more details.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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