Friday, January 18, 2008

1,000 th post on MM Yayyyyyyyyy!!!Lucky Ladybug

Ladybug, ladybug, fly away …
The insect known as a ladybug is something of a study in contrasts. They were called “ladybirds” in England long before LBJ’s wife made the name famous. They’re beetles, yet folks don’t cringe and squeal when one lands on them as they might do if a Junebug or boll weevil did. No, ladybugs are harmless little Volkswagen-shaped bugs with pretty red bodies and black spots that somehow make them seem … well, cute.
Despite their name, there are (of course) male ladybugs, but only entomologists can tell the difference at a glance. Legend has it that the Coccinella septempunctata got its feminine name back in the Middle Ages, when farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary to spare their crops from an invasion of pests. The red beetle with the black spots appeared to devour the offending insects, and they became known as “Our Lady’s Beetles.” On a more scientific note, ladybugs developed their distinctive coloring as a protective device. Their blood is said to be distasteful and even toxic to many predators. Over time, carnivorous insects have learned that “red bug equals nasty taste.”

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