Ladybugs in Love - A Valentine's Day Science
Ladybugs are cute insects that usually live by themselves. They munch on bugs and help farmers and gardeners. But when the weather gets colder and the bugs they eat disappear, the ladybugs fly up high and let the winds carry them to the mountains. They find their way to the same spot and look for their true love.
Once they found their mate, they gather together - thousands of them, and get ready to hibernate for the winter.
Ladybugs aggregate in Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, Oakland, CA. Photography - Dr. Orna Kretchmer
There are more than 4,500 different species of ladybugs in the world - more than 400 of them in North America. They come in many different shapes and colors.
Convergent Ladybug. Photography by Dr. Orna Kretchmer
Ladybugs are one of the most loveable insects, and in many cultures it's considered to be a sign of good luck when a ladybug lands on you.
Ladybugs are insects
All insects are invertebrates - they do not have a backbone.
They are cold blooded - their body temperature changes depending on how warm or cold the air is around them .
Insects can be found in every country in the world.
All insects have three body parts: Head, Thorax (chest), and Abdomen (belly).
All insects have six legs.
On the head of the ladybug we will find their mouth, eyes, and two antennae.
The chest has three pairs of legs and two pairs of wings.
The belly contains organs for food digestion and breathing. The ladybugs breath through openings on the sides of the chest and belly.
Many people think that insects are annoying and irritating (or even scary), but many insects are very important both to the environment and to humans. Insects like wasps, bees, butterflies, and ants pollinate flowers or spread plants' seeds, helping us have good crops and beautiful flowers and trees. Ladybugs help farmers by eating aphids and mites - bugs that can harm plants.
Ladybugs are helpful and cute.
Ladybugs are beetles.
Not all ladybugs have spots. Some are spotless.
Ladybugs lay their eggs on leaves.
Ladybugs go through a process called Metamorphosis - their body shape change completely - from egg to larva, pupa, and then to adult.
Ladybugs can live between 1-2 years.
Their main predators include birds, frogs, spiders, wasps, and dragonflies.
Their bright red color "tells" predators: "we are not tasty".
Love in Nature
Click on THIS LINK - to see Hearts in Nature - National Geographic Kids