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Ladybird

Ladybird

 

 

 

 

 

The Ladybird (also known as the ladybug) is a small colourful beetle found all around the world. There are thought to be more than 5,000 different species of this insect in the world, with more than 450 species found in North America alone. It is best known for it’s spotted body (normally red and black, but often orange and yellow are found), and their ability to rid gardens of their aphid pests effectively. It is thought to be good luck to find that a ladybird has landed on you, and most definitely bad luck if you then squash it! They are small sized insects rarely growing to more than a centimeter in length. They have legs that are black in colour and their brightly coloured shell protects the wings of the ladybird that are concealed beneath the spots. They are known to hibernate once the warm summer weather begins to cool. They  will hibernate in large groups in sites that are used year after year, and ladybirds are thought to hibernate in this communal fashion in order to increase their chances of surviving the cold winter. It is thought that pheromones are released by hibernating ladybirds that attract other ladybirds to hibernate in the same place. They are fearsome predators within their environment and are known as gardener’s friends as they munch all of the tiny pests that eat the plants. They primarily eat aphids, greenfly, plant lice and other small insects. It is thought that the average ladybird eats more than 5,000 aphids in just one year. They are prey to a number of animals in their environment that include birds, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, rodents and other insects. It is thought that the bright colour of the ladybird is used to deter hungry predators as they think that the ladybird will taste disgusting or is poisonous.