thedude Takes a Hike

When Andrew said that he knew of a place nearby where we could see “tens of thousands of ladybugs clumped like piles of scarlet coffee beans”, I knew I had to see it. It also happens that Andrew’s better half is an entomologist known to many as the Bug Lady, AND the topic for this week’s photography class is macro photography, so the stage was set. Now all we needed was for the bugs to cooperate. And did they!

The hike darned near killed me, but it was well worth the effort. As you can see, we found millions of Convergent Lady Beetles, um, converging ten deep on the forest floor. There were so many of the tiny beetles that you could actually hear them. They seemed happy.


9 comments

  • Wen

    HOLY BUG-O-RAMA BATMAN! THAT’S A LOT OF CRITTERS! Where was this place?

  • thedude

    Redwood Park, I think. Along one of the steep trails. Does that sound right?

  • Grant

    Are those ladybugs humping? Why didn’t you turn one of these in for your macro project? They’re great!

  • Elise

    I took pics of the ladybugs I saw on a hike Meg and I took a few weeks ago in Redwood Park. It’s amazing! Did you get any info why there are so many of them?

  • Mom

    That’s a ton of Lady Bugs. What a sight!

  • thedude

    Yes, Grant, I think I did see a male Hippodamia Convergens insert his adeagus into at least one female’s bursa copulatrix, but I can’t be sure.

  • Hugh Caley

    I saw this phenomenon in one of the redwood forests, maybe Muir woods. I’d always assumed it was because it was rainy and the ladybugs were trying to get out of the damp.

  • Jeri, aka The Bug Lady

    To answer the question posted by Elise, they aggregate like this to mate for one thing. However, like most insects that overwinter, they are less active during the colder months. Clustering allows them to make the most of the available resources; food and moisture, warm sunshine with no frost, and of course protection. Anyone walking along the trail would be hard pressed to see one lone beetle, but people go out of their way to avoid stepping on these “writhing clumps”. Cool, isn’t it?

  • Meghan

    Damn, I knew The Dude was cool, but smart and interesting too? Crazy.

    Elise and I speculated for at least 2 or 3 hours on what the hell all those bugs were doing. Thanks Jeri for your answer to Elise. I can sleep again!

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