Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mysterys and metamorphosis

I am being more and more drawn to the mysterious bug world that seems to be invading my life. Now I can experience the thrill of invertebrates on land! When I noticed this strange bug the other day I was completely taken aback. I could not figure out even what kind of bug this could possibly be. I suspected that it might be something larval, as I saw a few shed exoskeletons which might have been the same thing. But still, what was it? Not a caterpillar that was for sure. It had six legs, so it must be an insect... not a spider. But no wings? Hum...

To top it off, I noticed yet another strange bug near by. It looked like it might have been a beetle, but there was no hardened wing coverings and the abdomen was just to darn long. And what was with those crazy 'feet' at the end of the abdomen?

Puzzled I took some photos and went on my way, thinking I would never know for sure. I tried some searches for my mystery bug number one, and thought it might be some kind of mealy bug, but I was not totally convinced.

So a few days pass, and I go out to my plants where mystery bug number two is hanging out and low and behold I see a new bug, this one fairly recognizable:

Well, well a ladybug hanging out where mystery bug number two is... Maybe mystery bug number two is a larval form of the lady bug. They are the same color, and you can see the spots starting to form. So I do a little searching and find out that this lady bug is Harmonia axyridis, an asian ladybug. Luck for me, I also get to solve the identity of mystery bug number two AND number one.

As I suspected, mystery bug number one is a larval form; of the asian ladybug. Number two is the pupa of that same individual. What I took for 'feet' was actually the discarded molt of the larva at the end of the pupa. Metamorphosis is so cool... but I can imagine that it drove early entomologists up the wall, much like it drives us plankton-lovers up a wall!

1 comment:

Leigh Christina Russell said...

Hello Brine Queen, I love your blog! I found it this afternoon when looking at images of limpets hoping to identify a type of shellfish found on our beach. I didn't find out yet, but was delighted to find your site! Like you I love the little creatures. This afternoon I rescued a paua (abalone) which was drifting on its back in a shallow lagoon. I found a better place for it to live underneath a large rock in a different lagoon. Got some great pictures which I'll post when time allows. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for the natural world, and best wishes from me.