Joseph and Maria - The Little Scarlet Coccinellid Couple
Hello Nature Lovers !
Today I want to present to you one of the most adorable beetles that I know and already love from my childhood days. I caught this one here while eating and want to show you this picture series that I took as it shows really nicely the eating process of this little beetle friend, that I called Joseph ^^
Our little Joseph tre belongs to the family of the Coccinellidae. This family counts more than a total of 6,000 species and can be found just everywhere on earth. The word Coccineus derives from the Latin language and means "scarlet" to contribute to his great color. Nowadays they are commonly known as ladybugs in North America, and ladybirds in Great Britain. They only get as large as 0.8 to 18 mm and are really amall fellows. They are commonly colored yellow, orange, or red. Depending on the species, they can have spots, stripes, or no markings at all on their wing covers. Coccinellids have a round to elliptical, dome-shaped body with six short black legs, as well as black heads and antennae. But there is, however, a huge variation in these color patterns available.
Joseph first tests out if his pray is a tasty one.
As its actually is a tasty one, he grabs it directly for subsequent consumption.
The best known coccinellids species is intense red colored and seven-spotted with three spots on each side and one in the middle. Their heads are black with white patches on each side. You can see this specific one here in the picture series as Joseph belongs to this specific one too. A common myth that rumors among children and also many adults is, that the number of spots on the beetles back indicates its age But this is not true at all, as the underlying patterns and colors are determined by the corresponding species and genetics and develop as the beetle mature. Only for some species its appearance is fixed by the time it emerges from its pupa.
He is turning his prey around an bits into it from all possible directions.
Within just one minute everything is eaten up by Joseph.
The majority of coccinellids are super useful insects. The reason is their diet, as they prey on herbivorous homopterans such as aphids or scale insects, which are considered to be an agricultural pests. Did you know that nearly all coccinellids lay their eggs directly in aphid and scale insect colonies to ensure their larvae a great first food source? I was so lucky to also meet Josephs wife Maria close by sitting on the ground. Maria actually shows quite well the distribution of the black spots on the wing cover, which was with three spots on each side and one in the middle for that best known species of coccinellids.
Meanwhile Maria is waiting patiently for Joseph to finish his meal.
It is hard to detect from those two pictures, but all the time Maria was moving his mouth actively.
Thank you very much for browsing through my post about the ever-hungry Joseph and his wife Maria ^^ I wish you a great week out there, a good start into May and that you all stay safe out there !
If you want to know more about me, just look up my Introduceyourself post or follow my blog ^^