Ladybugs (or Ladybirds)
Let’s go on photo safari for ladybugs (sometimes called ladybirds). The ladybug is a striking, easy to detect beetle. Everyone likes this nice creature that is not scary or dirty, so it’s the perfect photo subject.
The ladybug is used as a symbol against senseless violence. But when you see how he eats aphids alive, in the presence of other aphids who are watching, this idea of nonviolence is tempered a bit. Of course I have often heard the argument that this is not senseless violence, but it’s violent nonetheless.
When you talk about the ladybug, everyone imagines a red or orange beetle with seven black spots on their back. This is the best known species, the seven-spotted ladybug (Coccinella septempunctata). In the Netherlands, however, there are more than seventy kinds of ladybugs. It is therefore not always easy to the correct species in your picture.
A relative newcomer in the Netherlands is the multicolored Asian ladybug (Harmonia axyridis), known as the Harlequin ladybird in the UK. It was introduced as an organic control of aphids in Dutch horticulture. This has gotten a bit out of hand, they have taken a liking to this landscape, and spread rapidly across the country. If an introduced species establishes itself, there is always the danger that they crowd out native species. This could easily happen with this species because it’s a rather agressive creature, in the absence of aphids, it will eat the larvae of other ladybugs.
Its colorful name should give you a clue, he’s extremely variable in color and therefore he adds an extra challenge in captioning your pictures.
The larvae of ladybirds look a lot more monstrous than the cute little beetle they later become. Remember, when you have one in your garden, it is also very fond of aphids, and has a huge appetite, and best of all, it turns into our beautiful ladybug. Especially don’t kill it because you find it scary or dirty, or think it is harmful for your beautiful flowers or vegetables.
Photos above: Left to right: multicolored Asian ladybug (Harmonia axyridis), Sevenspot ladybug (Coccinella septempunctata) and Cream-spot Ladybird (Calvia quatuordecimguttata)
Photos left: Seven-spotted ladybug (Coccinella septempunctata), multicolored Asian ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) and Two-spotted ladybird (Adalia bipunctata).
Photos below: Some of the larvae of various ladybirds.