More Two-Spotted Ladybugs

catalpaThe Catalpa trees grow and the big heart-shaped leaves attract aphids, lots of aphids. The aphids, tiny little white sucking machines, coat the leaves with their “dew” — what goes in must come out in some form — which in turn attracts ants and wasps. The aphids themselves attract ladybugs, hungry little beasts. All the dark things on the leaf above are early-stage instars of lady beetle larvae, which look absolutely nothing like the shiny, round adults. Adalia bipunctataThis photo and the one below are shot with my camera’s macro through a 10x loupe. The ‘gator-like larval stage ladybug — see the two spots on its side, like the adult Two-spotted — is surrounded by aphids; these aphids are so small they can barely be seen with the naked eye. catalpa2I don’t know if these are instals of A. bipunctata, but suspect so. I doubt that’s my hair, since I was wearing a hat. Adalia bipunctataThis one is so plump I suspect it’s close to pupating.

I have read that some localities ban Catalpas because they are messy trees, dropping foot-long, dried bean-pod-like seed pods, dripping with sticky goo, swarming with insects. But let’s hear it for mess! Nature is messy, complicated, interrelated. It is not a lawn or vast monocultural farm field soaked in poisons, which, as we keep learning over and over again, do tend to move from the insects and plants they are aimed against to fish and reptiles and birds and mammals, including the very people who apply the toxins and the rest of us. Quelle surprise! Adalia bipunctataLuckily, Brooklyn Bridge Park has had the vision to plant Catalpas all over the place. And almost every one of these trees has Two-spotted ladybugs in them. Remember, this is a species that isn’t being seen as much as it used to be. Above and below, Two-spotted pairs are engaged in making more of their kind.Adalia bipunctataRemember, too, that while the standard Adalia bipunctata is red-orange with two black spots, there are melanistic variations that are black with four red spots (or squares as in the side markings here), among other patterns.Adalia bipunctataHere’s what the loupe/camera set up view looks like before cropping. Rest of my left-hand fingers are supporting the leaf from underneath. I’m amazed these came out this well. Adalia bipunctataI wrote most of this post some weeks again, but a cursory look yesterday found three adult TSLs underneath some awfully bedraggled looking Catalpa leaves. Three cheers for bedraggled!

For my first discovery of these rare beetles two years ago on these trees, see here.

2 Responses to “More Two-Spotted Ladybugs”


  1. 1 Paul Lamb September 10, 2014 at 5:46 am

    I was delighted when I found a catalpa growing in my Ozark forest. I had no idea the niche they filled in the ecosystem.

    • 2 mthew September 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Looks like you have both the Northern and Southern species there, as we do here. I was surprised to see a Catalpa in a Paris garden in a movie I saw last night, My Old Lady, which I wouldn’t recommend, although the tree was heavy with pods.


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