Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ladybug ladybug!

Hippodamia convergens

Everybody loves ladybugs, right? I'd never thought all that much about them until I did some research on them this week for a magazine assignment. First off, they're beetles, not bugs. Secondly, researchers worry that native species are declining nationwide, perhaps in part due to introduced species. So a few years ago, they started the Lost Ladybug Project. They're asking kids and adults to shoot photos of them in their area so they can survey species.

I found this one today when James and I hiked the dry Blanco River bed (more on that to come). I just uploaded the photo above via the Lost Ladybug Project website and will look out for more.

So how did ladybugs get their name? It's believed that in the Middle Ages farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary when swarms of insects attacked their crops. When ladybugs arrived, the thankful farmers christened them "Our Lady's beetles." That's why they're also called lady beetles and ladybird beetles.

1 comment:

AnneTanne said...

In Dutch, the ladybugs are called 'lieveheersbeestjes', which means something like 'Our good Lord's bugs', but in most of the Flemish dialects, we call them 'lievevrouwebeestjes', 'Our lady's bugs'.
Only in the most western region of Flanders, they are called 'pimpampoentjes' (pronounce: 'Pim pam poon djuz') which means next to nothing, but just sounds beautiful to me.

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