A winter bug
I wanted to post an insect photo for January. Every winter these tiny red and black beetles come into our home to stay warm. Only thing is, they eventually die, for lack of food I imagine. Yesterday, I caught a live one and photographed it. Here it is:
This beetle belongs to the ladybug or Coccinellidae family (all "ladybugs" are beetles). The classic ladybug, Coccinella septempunctata, has seven spots. The ladybug in my photo is not a classic. Compare this to the Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle: Some people see Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetles (SMLB) and think they are in the ladybug family, too. But they aren't. Compare the spots of the two beetles. The ladybug has polka dots, but the SMLB does not. Also compare backs and the pronatum or prothorax, head and mouth parts: totally different. Cool.
The little Lady Bug has a rorschach test on her forehead. Something to think about.
"Cool" is right!
I remember as a kid, finding ladybugs and putting them in small mayonnaise jars (courtesy of my mom) along with a piece of iceberg lettuce for food. Then I'd cover the jar with wax paper and a rubber band and poke holes in the top with a toothpick. The ladybugs would never eat the iceberg lettuce and would always die. I figured now, I should have fed them fancier greens. (Who would have known, back in the '50s?)
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