WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – MY BACKYARD
This photograph is of a Ladybug in its larval stage of development. The photo was taken with a Nikon D80 and a Nikkor 60mm lens in my backyard. I found it so strange that this critter becomes a Ladybug when it matures, but, such is the life of this insect!
- Ladybug Trivia:
They are small insects, ranging from 1 mm to 10 mm (0.04 to 0.4 inches), and are commonly yellow, orange, or scarlet with small black spots on their wing covers, with black legs, head and antennae. A very large number of species are mostly or entirely black, grey, or brown and may be difficult for non-entomologists to recognize as coccinellids (and, conversely, there are many small beetles that are easily mistaken as such, like tortoise beetles).
Predatory ladybugs are usually found on plants where aphids or scale insects are, and they lay their eggs near their prey, to increase the likelihood the larvae will find the prey easily. Ladybugs are cosmopolitan in distribution, as are their prey.
Ladybugs also require a source of pollen for food and are attracted to specific types of plants. The most popular ones are any type of mustard plant, as well as other early blooming nectar and pollen sources, like buckwheat, cilantro, red or crimson clover, and legumes like vetches. Also, early aphid sources, like bronze fennel, dill, cilantro, caraway, angelica, tansy, yarrow, of the wild carrot family, Apiaceae. Other plants that also attract ladybugs include coreopsis, cosmos (especially the white ones), dandelions, and scented geraniums.