Twice-stabbed on an Apple Tree

© Loree Griffin Burns

Yesterday, in central Massachusetts, the sun came out. In celebration, my daughter and I spent a couple of hours outside after school. She did her homework on the picnic table, I scoped out one of our two apple trees. I’ve been reading a truly inspiring book on tree-watching–SEEING TREES, by Nancy Ross Hugo and Robert Llewellyn–and have decided to take up the sport. Somewhere between noting the gorgeous pattern of the bark (it was spongy and wet, mottled dark and light all over and then sprinkled with moss and lichens) and checking out the leaves, I found some critters. Not surprisingly, I was distracted. Ants. Slugs. And a ladybug! Not just any ladybug, mind you, but one I’ve not yet seen in the wild.

Can you see it up there in the photo?

That, my friends, is a Twice-stabbed Ladybug (Chilocorus stigma). Or maybe its a Once-squashed Ladybug (Chilocorus hexacyclus)*? I will never know for sure, because when I tried to catch it for a closer look at its chromosomes**, it dropped down into the grass. Lost forever. But I did manage this picture, which I’ll submit to Lost Ladybug Project soon.

So, eleven different species on my ladybug life list now. Hooray for the sun, and for tree-watching, and for ladybugs!

* I am not making these names up, I swear. They are from this excellent ladybug field guide.

**Okay, now I’m making things up. The only way to distinguish the two species is to examine the chromosomes, but I had no intention of doing so. I’m not that geeky. Plus, I don’t have the proper microscopes yet.