Monday, May 11, 2015

An entomologist in the field…and woods chasing Ladybugs

By Beth Sullivan
Last summer, I made the acquaintance of a very interesting man, Raul Ferreira, who sought permission to set up insect traps on the Perry Natural Area preserve for the purpose of studying beetle species, most notably those that live in forests and rely on wood and wood products for their food and life cycles. I met up with him and his family one day and was intrigued. At the end of the season, he sent his very academic report to me. I am still trying to turn it into lay person’s terms for identification purposes, but it was evident that he was enthusiastic about his findings, as well as teaching and sharing his love of beetles. This summer he will again visit Perry but will expand his study area to include Hoffman Preserve. This will be a great opportunity for us to expand our data base for that preserve as we think about doing habitat management for birds as well.

Can you identify these Ladybugs?  See the figure below to learn how.
A new passion has engaged him now, as well-the apparent disappearance of our native “Lady Bugs.” Truly a Beetle, and often called Lady Bird Beetles, they are recognized and loved by everyone, unless of course you get the fall invasions!
He sent me some information about a study “Finding the Lost Lady Bird Beetles,” which is calling on citizen scientists to document and report their encounters with ladybugs. The information that follows is reprinted with his permission with photo credits to the Lost Lady Bug Project. There is a full national website hosted by Cornell University here, but there is also a local effort centered here in CT and RI to help document our spotted friends.

You probably wouldn't recognize the pupa and larval stages as Ladybugs.

Another fun reason to get out and explore. Let the kids find the lady bugs. It is a great way to get families involved in a project for science…and get them outside! We need to grow future scientists and entomologists!

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