Saturday, 9 July 2011

Emerging harlequin ladybird

I collected 50 ladybird pupae (above) a couple of weeks ago. The idea was to wait and see what emerged from them to send records to the Ladybird Parasite Survey. After 6 days, 46 Harlequins had emerged, and from 2 of the remaining some tiny maggots of the parasitic phorid fly Phalacrotophora. Having so many ladybirds emerging at home meant I had a good chance to catch one of them emerging, something I had never seen before. I saw two, one of them almost right from the beginning, and this series of photos documents it. The whole process took about 10 minutes. In the next shot, the ladybird has broken the pupal skin and the pupal buds containing both pairs of wings are erect.
...she finally walks out. 
The ladybird then waits next to its pupal skin until she has hardened a bit and extends her wings, which are still yellow. You can see how the ladybird gets her spots in this post.

2 comments:

Mike B. @ slugyard.com said...

awesome post! I keep scanning my yard to try to find something like this, and so far all I ever find are adults. Thanks!

Blackbird said...

Thank you Mike! Given it is so quick, you would have to be very lucky to see this in the wild. I feel lucky to have seen it at home. Even the first time I saw it the ladybird was halfway out.