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EnvironMental 'LADYBIRDS'

'Lady Birds' Sarah Mariam Koshy

This week let's take a look at a cute little red critter and the role it plays in our environment.

These are soft bodied variously coloured beetles with over five thousand different species. They are called lady bugs in North America or ladybirds in the UK and belong to the Coccinellidae beetle family. The sizes of these insects range from one millimetre or 1/16th inches to 10 millimetres or 3/8th inches long.

Did you know that ladybirds have two sets of wings? Only one pair is used for flying and the other pair is for the purpose of protecting their actual set of wings. This protective set of wings are the beautiful red/orange/yellow polka dotted outer layer that we see.

Now, how is this relevant to environMental? Well, ladybirds are beneficial to humans as well as the environment because they eat many other pests that are known to eat plants and destroy crops. Ladybird's blood is yellow coloured and it releases a strong odour that can repel predators. Also, other animals/insects perceive their colour as dangerous/venomous.

So, the next time you see these pretty little red insects in your garden you know your plants have got the best guardians ever and you should, too, stop and take a minute to observe these friends.


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