What's for Lunch?

Jan 17, 2014

What's for lunch?

If you're a lady beetle (aka ladybug), a good bet is you'll have one of those yummy, plant-sucking aphids. In fact, you'll eat your fill.  Please do.

Today we walked behind the Life Sciences Building on the UC Davis campus and encountered scores of our polka-dotted, six-legged, dome-shaped buddies hunting for prey.

It was easy pickings.

This was a fast predator in a slow food movement.

Aphids were everywhere on the brittlebush (Encelia farinosa)

Call lady beetles what you will. Ladybirds. Lady beetles. Ladybugs. Coccinelles. Beneficial insects. All of the above.

Most people in America, however, know this insect as a "ladybug." It's actually not a true bug but a beetle. It's a member of the Coccinellidae family. Coccinelid is Latin for "scarlet," but not all lady beetles are scarlet with black spots. Some are yellow, orange and brown, and some with spots and some without.

You'll find coccinellids worldwide as there are more than 5,000 species, and of that number, more than 450 are native to North America, according to Wikipedia

And they all "do lunch" with aphids, scales and other soft-bodied insects.