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  • Writer's pictureCrone

Little critters

Updated: Nov 26, 2022

So, I saw this little thing on the wall at the edge of the park. The Seek app said asian lady bug, which was odd as it looked like a sort of segmented thing and I assumed lady bug was just American for ladybird.

Then I saw another one which did look like the asian lady bug depicted on Seek - with a second semi-segmented thing.

Is this mother and child? YES!!! Check out Wikipedia - I might donate to them just for this! The first one I saw was a larva, the one on the left of this image is a pupa and the one on the right is an adult! Who'd-a-thowt-tit?

Turns out, these beetles are considered pests. But I think they were introduced to eat aphids and then started taking over the world. They infest homes in North America apparently, causing mayhem - like Republican electioneers.

The better little critters are, of course, worms. Did you know that a lob worm lives for about ten years? And can reach 19? They are not sexually mature until they are four! They CHOOSE when to emerge from their cocoons, waiting until the conditions are favourable. Check this out from my Field Studies Council course - it's about compost worms:

How these earthworms find the niche habitats that they inhabit is still a bit of a mystery. When searching a pasture, for example, you may find composting earthworms within and under cow pats but would be unlikely to find them within the soil of the wider habitat. As these microhabitats are transient, occurring for a relatively short period, they must be colonised by composting earthworms quickly before other dung-feeders (such as flies, beetles and microorganisms) use up all of the resources. The most likely strategy is that composting earthworm cocoons are widespread in soil and are triggered to hatch when the conditions are good – e.g. dung is deposited within the vicinity. Cocoons can remain dormant for a long time and only emerge when conditions are suitable

Some worms live in TREES! They are good climbers. As one might expect, they are called arboreal worms.

There is so much we don't know about worms. The only research that's really been done is to find out how useful they are to agriculture.

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Nov 22, 2022

That Wikipedia article is informative. I was aware of the Asian lady bug but had no idea it's been so successful worldwide. And knew they can bite. Must try to i.d. them "in the flesh" next year. Here's a PEI story I remember from 2021this article -

Re Wikipedia - I didn't know there is so much variation in the colour form in Harmonia axyridis and had forgotten about the prothorax M or W to help i.d. them. Great to read more about the earthworms. I didn't know about arboreal worms. I enjoy your little critters posts and look forward to more.

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