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Photograph 29: Ladybugs

The cartoon version of a ladybug is so much cuter than the real thing.  After all, the insect has bug in the name.  What’s cute about that? 

There are over 5,000 species of ladybugs.  That’s a lot of bugs!  In Europe, they are called ladybird beetles, which sounds like an aristocratic bug.  Maybe they are secretly having tea and fancy sandwiches in the woods somewhere?  Seems these little creatures are adored by farmers; ladybugs consume plant-eating insects that endanger crops.  The most common pest consumed by ladybugs is an aphid.  Within a ladybug’s three-to-six week life span, they can consume 5,000 aphids.  It’s a bug eat bug world, eh?

Ladybugs have protective qualities in addition to their bright color.  They are skilled at “playing dead” and can also secrete a fluid from joints in their legs that produce a foul taste.  It might be hard to look at even a cartoon ladybug and not think about how nasty they would taste.  That’s what I get for being curious.

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