Saturday, August 28, 2004

Bug love -- Part 2

Ladybugs -- oops, ladybirds! -- are named in the Linnaean system rather like a deck of cards: by suit and number of spots, or rather, genus and species. Thus, Adalia bipunctata is the two-spot ladybird, and Adalia decimpunctata is the ten-spot ladybird.

The lovers on the fence post are (if I'm not mistaken) the common Coccinella septempunctata, or seven-spot ladybird.

Ladybirds are also like a deck of cards in that they are sometimes red with black spots or black with red spots. Adalia bipunctata appears in both forms.

The family name Coccinellidae means "little sphere." Shouldn't it be little hemisphere ?