We were pretty excited to be ‘let out’ into the wilds of the school garden in a brief respite from the rain to hunt for bugs (in general and ladybugs [or ladybirds as I call them] in particular). Imagine our surprise, however, when after much searching, all we unearthed was one small and squidgy slug…..
a couple of unsuspecting greenfly…..
beneath-a-leaf; something way too small to identify…..
scuttling fast-and-furious from our probing fingers; and one I-think-it’s-a-ladybird…..
(but actually it isn’t).
We even turned over a paving slab (usually a source of feverish ant activity, as they rush to protect their eggs from sunlight and danger)…..
and all we spotted was this worm.
Of course we had hoped to find some ladybirds, following our research the previous day. We know that a ladybird is an insect (one, two, three, four, five, six legs in all) and that as such, its life cycle is similar to that of the butterfly.
The mummy ladybird…..
lays her eggs on a leaf, near a spot where there are lots of tasty greenfly. This will be the food for her ‘babies’.
After about four days, the larva hatch.
Just like caterpillars, the ladybird larvae are eating machines. They eat, and eat and eat. Until they are ready to pupate.
After just five days, the new ladybird breaks out of the pupa case. It is yellow at first. And then after just 15 minutes or so, the black spots begin to appear.
During the course of the next couple of days, the yellow turns to orange and finally to red.
And the whole cycle starts over again.
Now - do you think you could put the life-cycle pictures in order?