So I just got out of an interview, and I see this QT. Any idea and what they are?
Why yes, I do. Looks like your bab was fixing to molt, so he appears a little unusual, but still easily identifiable. This was actually one I learned when I was a little kid, and was quite pleased with knowing as the smart-ass 7-year-old I was back in the day, although I didn’t know there was more than one species of these then.
Here’s a sibling of your friend from my yard. Look at those cute little legs! His face is that TINY little thing at the very end at the front. He is a larva. When he pupates, he will look like this:
You can see his old baby clothes around the base of his pupa where it connects to the grass. And when he emerges as an adult, you will probably recognize him!
Your friend is specifically an Asian Lady Beetle, Harmonia axyridis. These can look quite variable, especially depending on where you live (in Texas, there are some that are BLACK with RED SPOTS, or GRAY with BLACK spots!). Most places, they are red or orange with black spots… or with no spots at all! In MOST places, the easiest way to identify them is by looking at their pronotum–the shield that covers their thorax. In the red varieties, it will be white with a black “W.” The other species of lady beetles (and there are SO MANY OF THEM!!!” will have different patterns there, and typically have a specific pattern of spots!
After this photo, though? You get these:
They have fun eggs! If you see a ton of lady beetles, it means there are lots of tasty aphids (and other plant-parasitic insects) around. And that usually means there is a lack of biodiversity somewhere, which allows the plant parasites to flourish. I get a huge swarm of lady beetles whenever the invasive grasses pop up in my yard. But that also meant plenty of opportunities to watch their larvae grow up and emerge from their pupae!
Thanks for asking!
July 8, 2019