Aaaaaand…. it’s that time of week again! Crazy Tiny Insects, y’all! Today’s featured insect is one of many guises– quite literally. Also, it’s not a bird. Also, it’s tiny.
Introducing the Indian Wave-striped Ladybug (Cheilomenes sexmaculata).
(At least, I’m assuming. I haven’t got ID confirmation yet.)
Anyways. There is, and I am not kidding, little to know information on this elusive ladybug. The information on it is widely scattered, and when you add to that the fact that this might actually be the Variable Ladybird (Coelophora inaequalis) instead you get a heck-load of confusion on your hands.
So I am going to make the best of both worlds and use this as an opportunity to describe not one, but two species! Yay!
First up, the Indian Wave-striped Ladybird. Also known as the Six-spotted zig-zag ladybird. Because, y’know, naturalists love naming things. Sometimes they do it twice. Sometimes, also, they mess with the scientific name, so this is also Menocilus sexmacalutus, in case any of you were feeling like you knew where you were today.
To add some comfort to the mess of confusion, this is actually, apparently, the ‘commonest, yet the most rampantly mis-identified coccinellid of the region’. So, you kow. I might be wrong. Might be right. Either way, I’m in good company! It’s found almost all throughout Australasia and in some parts of the Middle East as well (Iran, I’m looking at you), but, apprently, is not very well documented, other than obscure scientific research papers that rattle off the scientific names of fifty different prey and predator species and completely fail to inform me of anything.
Moving on! The Variable Ladybird is a lady of many guises. And names, as well, in case your head was still steady. So this is the common Australian ladybug and the common Australian ladybird beetle, because cohesive names, y’all!
(Quick quiz: Guess where it’s actually native to.)
You’re wrong! It’s actually native to pretty much all of Australasia. Those sneaky Australians wanted to snag all the credit for themselves. They’re active during the day and apparently, adult and larvae can be found living on the same food plants. Their name arises from the fact that, despite there being four spots on every one of these lil’ insects, the spots range from barely visible to blotchy and back again to random splashes of black. Variable. Neat.
Back to you again, Lavanya! Can’t wait to see what you put up!
And, for that matter, what about the rest of you silent folks? Can you get a better ID for this creature? Or do you have a CTI you’d like to share yourself? Comment and tell us!