The Lady Bug Gymnastics

Adalia stretch with somersaultPhoto:
All images courtesy of Mick E. Talbot

With Halloween just around the corner, we’d like to leave scary witches and willowy ghosts aside for just one minute and focus on one helpful critter that might get forgotten otherwise. After ridding crops of plant lice and scale insects, the Halloween lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis) invades homes in October where it prepares for its well deserved hibernation. Before that long period of inactivity, it likes to stretch its wings a bit. That’s probably an understatement – wing acrobatics is more like it.

Orange-coloured Halloween lady beetles are also called Pumpkin ladybirds:
Halloween lady beetlePhoto:

Lady bugs or ladybirds belong to the Coccinellidae family of beetles and the Halloween lady beetle, at around 7-8 mm, is one of the larger lady bug varieties. It is a native of eastern Asia and was already introduced in North America in 1916 and in Europe in 2001 as an environmentally friendly way of dealing with crop pests, especially aphids a.k.a. plant lice. Because of the lady bug’s tendency to overwinter indoors, it is considered a nuisance by some but it shouldn’t be forgotten that in many countries, visiting ladybirds are considered good luck. That their spots indicate their age is a myth however.

Here she goes, stretching her colourful wing covers and wings to the max:
Spreading wingsPhoto:

Oh, wait, there’s a bit more length in there:

… and not to forget the cool somersault:
Doing a somersaultPhoto:

Here’s a closer look at the delicate wings, peeking out from under the sturdy wing covers:
Wings close-upPhoto:

Did you miss the first sequence of acrobatics? Well, here’s another one, this time by the Adalia bipunctata or two-spot ladybird:

Here’s what Adalia usually looks like:
Adalia bipunctaPhoto:

And here she’s getting ready to stretch:
Getting ready to stretchPhoto:

And once again that amazing stretch with somersault:
Adalia stretch with somersaultPhoto:

Her friend, also of the Coleoptera family, seems to be laughing:
Laughing lady bugPhoto:

Just looking at these tiny acrobats makes one smile – even skeptics not believing in the good luck myth have to admit that temporary happiness is not to be discredited.

With special thanks to Flickr user Mick E. Talbot for sharing his stunning series of lady bugs!

Sources: 1, 2, 3