A citizen science project aims to create a map of the nation’s ladybug populations with an eye on how to conserve them.
What’s black and red with spots all over? If you said a ladybug, you’d be correct—to an extent. Of the more than 450 species of ladybugs in the United States, only about 70 are the classic red and black-dappled variety. And while most of the hundreds are native species, foreign ones are becoming more common, many having been imported several decades ago to control plant pests.
To get a better perspective on ladybug demography, researchers are collaborating on a database called the Lost Ladybug Project. Essential to the success of the project is the help of citizen scientists who search for ladybugs in their area, photograph them, and send the images in to the database. Using those images, scientists can generate a map of where different ladybug populations reside, which will ultimately help them take steps to list imperiled species as threatened or endangered as a means to protecting them.
Click on the image below to learn more about ladybugs and how you can spot them.
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