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Posts Tagged ‘Coccinellidae’

A few months ago I mentioned the Lost Lady Bug Project.

It seems they’ve updated the site so that visitors can now view all the photo submissions.  Pretty cool.

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I’ve blogged a lot about lady beetles recently.  That’s because we have been inundated by them ever since moving to Illinois.  The beetle deluge is not a good thing, though, as ours are nearly all Harmonia axyridis, an extraordinarily pesty species imported from Asia in what must rank as one of the most poorly executed biological control projects ever.  In the wake of the alien lady beetle invasion, our native species have all but disappeared.

Enter the Lost Ladybug Project.  The project is a citizen-science initiative out of Cornell University to gather information on the distribution of various native and introduced species. Anyone can submit photos of lady beetles from around North America.  The project folks will identify them and log the location and date.

Although the results so far show a depressing dominance of European Coccinella septempunctata and Asian Harmonia, the database has received at least one record of the nine-spotted lady beetle, an insect that was once common but hadn’t been seen for 14 years.  If you’ve got some spare time and a camera, I highly recommend participating.

h/t Buggirl.

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Cycloneda munda – Polished Lady Beetle
Champaign, Illinois

It’s a depressing time to be a lady beetle aficionado in the midwest.  Most of the beetles I’ve seen around town are pesty invasives like the multi-colored lady beetle (from Asia) and the seven-spotted lady beetle (from Europe).  But one native species, Cycloneda munda, is hanging on, perhaps because it is smaller than the competition and able to subsist on smaller prey.  A couple weeks ago I photographed this pair enjoying an intimate moment on the fall goldenrod.

photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D
ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec, flash diffused through tracing paper

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Coccinella septempunctata

This weekend’s project: to shoot a beetle in flight.  I chose ladybirds not because they are pretty, but because they are the slowiest, clumsiest beetles I could find in any number.   An easy target.

I had a cast of several beetles from two species, the seven-spotted ladybird Coccinella septempunctata and the multi-colored ladybird Harmonia axyridis.  I placed the beetles inside a whitebox with a backdrop of leaves, along with my Canon 550 speedlite flash, and tried to capture the beetles as they launched themselves into the air.  The timing was tricky, as it only takes a beetle a fraction of a second to deploy its wings and push off, but with a little practice I learned to anticipate the unfurling of the wings.  Most shots missed, of course, but here are some of the successes.

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