© Loree Griffin Burns

On Friday I led a group of citizen scientists out into a gorgeous milkweed meadow, where we hunted for ladybugs. In a short walk that involved no sweep nets (we didn’t want to whack all the beautiful, about-to-pop blooms off the milkweed), we recorded four species of ladybugs: ursine anthill ladybug (Brachiacantha ursine), polished ladybug (Cycloneda mundi), seven-spotted ladybug (Cocinella septempunctata), and multi-colored Asian ladybug (Harmonia axyridris).

Because we didn’t collect specimens but, rather, recorded them photographically as we hiked, our numbers of individuals within a species are not precise. There was a single mating pair of ursines (see photo), one individual polished, and one individual seven-spotted. My best guess is that we spotted at least five Asian ladybugs, but I can’t be sure we didn’t recount the same individual.

Anyway, it was a great afternoon in the sunshine, celebrating insects that live in our neck of the woods. For more information on ladybug citizen science, or to view ladybugs we and others have found over the years, click on over to the Lost Ladybug Project website.