Ladybug insect

Ladybug insect. Description, features, species and habitat of a ladybug

Description and Features

For people, this tiny creature is completely harmless, and in relation to them it shows only credulity and peacefulness. Therefore, you can easily put him on your hand and tell him about your hopes and desires.

And our ancestors believed that after hearing them, it flies straight to Heaven, where it tells everything to the patrons of the human race, transmitting all human requests and messages.

It seems that the spotted color of this insect from ancient times reminded the inhabitants of Russia of wonderful pets, whose milk at all times was nutritious and tasty. And for this very reason they called such a creature — ladybug. By the way, it is also capable of producing milk, though far from being so useful and snow-white. But more on that later.

The family of these tiny representatives of the animal world bears the same name with them and is assigned by biologists to the order of beetles. The sizes of its members vary from 4 mm, reaching a centimeter value.

The body shape of such creatures when viewed from above is oval, but elongated only slightly, described by smooth lines, almost round. On the sides it is a slide, flat below, on six thin legs consisting of segments. The body of some species is covered by barely noticeable hairs.

Ladybugs have a very short head. It is fixed motionless with another area — prothorax. The main body part is divided into three components: elytra with wings folded beneath them; the other two are the abdomen, formed of six segments, and the legs.

The eyes of these creatures are quite large. And the antennae, like many other parts of the body of these insects, built from a number of segments, are very flexible.

Ladybug beetle or insect? With full right, it can be considered both to those and to others. And this is natural, because beetles (coleoptera) are the most numerous detachment in terms of the number of species, classified as insects.

With the exception of the coldest terrestrial zones, these representatives of the animal world live everywhere, that is, members of this family can be found in almost any corner of our grand planet.

Kinds

In the family of ladybugs of only one genus, there are about 360. But the species in their composition, as you might guess, are much larger, namely more than 4000. All their members in nature are distinguished by bright colors. And this is not at all accidental, because such an outfit was given to a bug by nature in order to scare away possible ill-wishers.

There are many different colors for ladybugs.

True, depending on the species, it can be very different. Exotic rare varieties of these creatures are full of brown and dark blue shades with the addition of white, red, yellow, black patterns. But the usual thing for us is still rich yellow, and more often even, bright red insects with dark spots, a black front and paws.

A distinctive feature of the outfit of most types of ladybugs are dots (spots). There can be from two to seventeen, in some cases even more, pieces. The ladybug family itself is divided into 7 subfamilies. And the most interesting of the varieties with some additions will be mentioned below.

  • Seven-point ladybug — The most common variety in European territory. The size of its representatives is usually not more than 8 mm. Her bright red outfit, as the name implies, is marked by seven black spots.

Its elytra is adorned with three large black marks and another one stands out on the front of the back. In addition, at the base of these creatures there are two small, symmetrically located, white spots.

Seven-point ladybug

  • Two-point ladybug. The length of this tiny creature is only half a centimeter. Such insects live not only on the European continent, but also in North America.

In Latvia, these members of the animal kingdom have been officially declared national insects for almost three decades. Their coloring is made up of dark red and black colors.

  • Ladybug asian. It is customary to divide this species into two subspecies, which can be easily distinguished among themselves purely externally in color. One of them is black with orange-red markings on the elytra and light yellow in front.

Total spots 19 pieces. Another main background is yellow, decorated with small and large black dots.

  • Changeable cow. The coloring of this small representative of the family consists of yellow-red and black areas. The six black spots that adorn the elytra are variable.

Some of them may merge or even be completely absent. Such cows live in Europe, and for some time they were brought to America.

  • Ladybug is a vivid confirmation that not all species of the described insects have spots. True, such a variety is very rare. Her outfit may be brown or red. Thin and fine villi cover the body of such cows.

  • Blue ladybug. This variety really has such an unusual shade of elytra. These small insects are found, whose body length usually does not exceed 4 mm, on the Australian continent.

Blue ladybug is very rare

In the photo, an eyed ladybug

Lifestyle & Habitat

Of course, such creatures can fly, this is stated even in children’s counters. And they have as many as two pairs of wings. True, only the rear of them are adapted for air movements, and the front ones during the evolution turned into rigid protective elytra.

Nature reliably protected from attacks by ill-wishers. insect. ladybug so bright that it can scare away predators. But here not only too noticeable coloring plays a role.

A good protection against potential attackers is a special natural liquid secreted by such insects in anticipation of danger. It’s also customary to call it cow’s milk.

In case of danger, the ladybug secretes a specific fluid

It has an unpleasant odor, is poisonous, has a yellow tint, and cantharidin is part of it. Such milk frightens off all insidious predators, even formidable tarantulas. And almost no one in nature dares to touch a harmless ladybug.

However, there is still a parasite insect from which such creatures have no protection. These are dynamocampuses. They gradually kill the cows and their pupae, placing their eggs there, which, when developed, destroy them.

The habitat of ladybugs depends on their variety. Some of them perfectly adapted to live in meadows near rivers and streams; others can only exist on trees. Varieties are known that inhabit only certain types of flora, for example, aquatic plants, reeds, sedge, field grasses; some seek out places where aphids accumulate because they feed on it.

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However, ladybugs of any kind are not social and prefer for the most part an existence that is separate from the congeners. But at certain times they violate this rule. For example, during the breeding season or when they come together for winter flights in an area of ​​the planet where there is no cold.

In general, different types of ladybugs spend the cold season in their own way. Those who are adapted to life in temperate areas and are settled, usually choose convenient shelters from winds and frosts: terraces, garages, sheds, houses.

Sometimes they seek refuge in groups, even large communities, with tens of millions of individuals. In winter, they can hide in piles of foliage, bark and rocky ruins.

These peace-loving creatures for humans for living organisms of their size and type are very dangerous and are voracious predators. But even with their carnivore they bring a considerable benefit to a person. After all, those whom they eat are reputed to be malicious pests and parasites.

What ladybugs eat? They destroy hordes of aphids (an adult can eat about a hundred of them per day), eat other insects, their eggs, as well as caterpillars, pupae and even butterflies.

And therefore, in order to save agricultural land, ladybugs are deliberately bred and in many cases thrown from airplanes. If they do not have enough food, they are happy to throw on the eggs of the famous pest of potato planting — the Colorado potato beetle.

But there are types of these insects whose diet includes only plant foods: flowers, leaves, pollen, in some cases — plant fruits, mushrooms. Here they really sometimes become a big problem, causing damage to the fields and crops growing on them.

However, such species more populate southern Asia. In Russia, they exist (for example, alfalfa and broccoli), but are not common.

Some attribute this insect to pests, only because they are confused with others. For example, there is insect, ladybug-like. This is epilahna. She devours potato tops, harms tomatoes, pumpkins, corn, cucumbers.

There are pests similar to a ladybug, epilachines

It is also called a potato cow. It differs from the described insects by the dullness of the colors of the outfit, the abundance of spots (there are as many as 28 of them), and upon closer examination, you can see thin whitish hairs on the body.

Reproduction and longevity

As soon as these insects manage to move away from winter upheavals, flights or hibernation, instinct begins to push them to reproduce their own kind. And they break to this process somewhere in the middle of spring.

Formed specimens (usually individuals not younger than 3 months or six months) are prepared for mating. Males, obeying the natural program, find a partner for their unique smell. It comes from the specific secretions of females.

Then the females attach their eggs, narrowed to the ends and oval in shape, to the leaves of plants from the back. Cows deliberately choose those places where a sufficient supply of food is planned for the future offspring, most often in the epicenter of colonies of edible insects, for example, aphids.

The eggs of the cows are white, orange or yellow in color, and their number can reach up to four hundred pieces in one clutch.

In the laying of a ladybug there can be several hundred eggs

Sadly, after doing her job, the female dies. But life goes on, because from the eggs soon (no later than two weeks later), flat-shaped or oval larvae hatch.

Their color is colorful and represents a certain composition from black, white, but more — orange and yellow areas. And in some species of cows, the larvae are covered with thin hairs or bristles.

At first, for life, it is quite enough for those nutrients that the shell of its own egg contains. But after a few days, the future ladybug begins to exterminate pests. One larva is capable of absorbing up to fifty aphid specimens per day.

Ladybug larva also feeds on aphids

And their assembly quickly deals with whole colonies. After saturation and growth, one or two months pass, and then another stage sets in — pupation.

It is during this period that all parts of the body of an adult cow are formed. She leaves the chrysalis somewhere in a week or 10 days. The life span of a ladybug is quite short. It can be only 10 months, but if the individual does not lack food, in some cases it is extended to two years.

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What Is a Sparrow?

David Iliff/Wikimedia Commons (CC by 3.0)

Sparrows are some of the most familiar and most common birds in the world, but what is a sparrow? Knowing what makes a sparrow a sparrow can help birders identify these birds more easily and better appreciate their place in the world’s avifauna.

Types of Sparrows

The term «sparrow» covers a wide range of relatively small, mostly drab brown birds, which birders often call «LBJs» or «little brown jobs» because they can be notoriously difficult to identify. While many of these birds include the word «sparrow» in their common names, other types of sparrows include buntings, towhees, and juncos. In fact, there are dozens of different sparrow species throughout the world—more than 50 of which are found in North America. Understanding how these small birds are related and what similarities they share is helpful for understanding their uniqueness in the avian world.

Sparrow Geography

Sparrows can be found on every continent except Antarctica, and they are generally divided into two principal families.

  • Old World Sparrows: These sparrows are types of weaver finches in the family Passeridae, and they are widespread in Europe, Asia, and Africa. One of the most common sparrows—the house sparrow—is an Old World sparrow and has been introduced widely around the world, so much so that it is considered an invasive species in many areas. Other sparrows in the Passeridae family include the chestnut sparrow, Somali sparrow, and rock sparrow.
  • New World Sparrows: These sparrows are common in North and South America and belong to the family Emberizidae. There are dozens of sparrow species in this family, all with subtle differences in appearance, habitat, and range. Some of the most familiar species include the song sparrow, swamp sparrow, field sparrow, eastern towhee and American tree sparrow.

In both of these bird families, sparrows have evolved a wide range of species to fill different ecological niches.

Fun Fact

Sparrows can be found in nearly every habitat, from deserts and arid grasslands to marshes, forests and even urban areas.

Physical Characteristics of Sparrows

Like all types of birds, sparrows have certain physical characteristics that help define them as a group. They are all passerine birds—songbirds—and share traits such as:

  • Size: The majority of sparrow species are relatively small, with sizes ranging from 4-8 inches in length, though 5-7 inches is the most common range. The size proportions, such as head size relative to body size or the tail length compared to over measurements, also vary.
  • Plumage: These birds are called LBJs for a reason, and most sparrows have brown mottled plumage that serves as superior camouflage. They often have several distinct markings on the head, however, including stripes or bold colors that stand out from their bland bodies. Bold black, yellow and chestnut markings are common on many sparrows.
  • Bill: A sparrow’s bill is relatively short and thick with a conical shape. This is perfect for cracking the seeds that are these birds’ primary food source. The bill color often varies, however, with some sparrows having dull gray or blackish bills while others have pale yellow or pinkish bills.
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Sparrow Behavior

Because sparrows all share relatively bland plumage and physical characteristics, it is their behavior that is often more distinctive than their appearances. Behavioral traits common to sparrows include:

  • Flocking: Like most songbirds, sparrows are solitary or found only in pairs or family groups during the spring and summer breeding season. In autumn and winter, however, they will form mixed flocks of different sparrow species, and may even be mixed with some other small birds such as wrens or chickadees. Birders can take advantage of this behavior by scanning complete flocks in the field to see if any unusual species are joining more familiar birds.
  • Foraging: While foraging, sparrows feed primarily on the ground or low in trees or shrubby cover. They will often glean through leaf litter for seeds and insects, and many sparrow species will hop to scratch with both feet while feeding. This scratching also creates noise that can help birders better locate sparrows in dense thickets or shrubbery.
  • Diet: Sparrows are principally granivorous seed eaters, though they also consume a fair amount of insects. This is especially true during the spring and summer when the protein from insects is essential for growing hatchlings. In the backyard, sparrows are fairly undiscriminating and will eat black oil sunflower seeds, millet, cracked corn, milo, bread scraps and a range of other foods.
  • Flight Pattern: Sparrows are fast, agile fliers that use a series of rapid wing beats followed by a brief glide with folded wings to create an undulating flight pattern. As flocking birds, they may be easily startled and may fly between a food source and shelter frequently while feeding.

Above all, sparrows are adaptable birds. With a wide range of species found all over the world, these birds are a staple on every birder’s life list and understanding what makes sparrows unique can help all birders better appreciate these LBJs.

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Goat bird. Description, features, lifestyle and habitat of the goat

Kozodoy — a bird with the wrong name

Among the shepherds, there was a legend long ago that in the twilight a bird flies to grazing herds and is engaged in donating milk to goats and cows. She was nicknamed Caprimulgus. Which in translation means “a bird milking goats”. Here why is the so-called goat.

In addition to the strange name, unusual cries are characteristic of the bird. As a result, the harmless creature has gained a bad reputation. In the Middle Ages he was even suspected of witchcraft.

Description and Features

The bird has many other nicknames. This is a night hawk, night owl, napkin. They reflect the main feature — it is a nocturnal bird.Goat-bird small sizes. Its weight is 60-100 g, body length is 25-32 cm, up to 50-60 cm reaches the full wingspan.

The wings and tail are provided with long narrow feathers. They provide a well-controlled, fast and silent flight. The elongated body is located on short, weak legs — the bird does not like to walk on the ground. The plumage color is predominantly gray with black, white and brown spots.

Goat goats awkwardly shifting from one foot to another, resembling a windup toy

The skull is small, flattened. The eyes are big. The beak is short and light. The beak is large, on the floor of the head. On the upper and lower parts of the beak are setae, which are a trap for insects. Because of what, one more is added to numerous nicknames: goat setkonos.

The differences between males and females are hardly noticeable. Males are usually a little larger. In color, the difference is almost absent. The male has white spots at the ends of the wings. In addition, he has the privilege of voicing night silence.

Scream of a goat hard to call a song. Rather, it resembles rumble, rattling loud and distinct. It is sometimes interrupted by a whistle. The male begins to sing on his return from wintering. With sunset, he settles on a piece of wood and begins to rumble. With dawn, the singing ends. Autumn breaks off the goat’s song until the next breeding season.

Listen to the voice of the goat

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Kinds

The genus Kozodoi (system name: Caprimulgus) is divided into 38 species. Scientists disagree about the affiliation of certain species of goats to certain taxa. Therefore, information on the biological classification of certain species sometimes varies.

For the antennae on the beak of the goat, often called netkonos

Common goat (system name: Caprimulgus europaeus). When talking about a goat, this bird is meant. It nests in Europe, Central, Central and West Asia. Winters in the east and the west of Africa.

Human agricultural activity, processing of crops with pesticides leads to a decrease in the number of insects. But, in general, due to the large range, the number of this species does not decrease, it does not face extinction.

Many other species got their names because of the appearance. For example: large, red-cheeked, bridle, bulanic, harlequin, star-shaped, collared, long-tailed goats.

Nesting in a certain territory gave the name to other species: Nubian, Central Asian, Abyssinian, Indian, Madagascar, Savannah, Gabon goats. The names of many species are associated with the names of scientists: the Kozodoi Messi, Bates, Salvadori, Donaldson.

A notable relative of an ordinary goat is a gigantic or gray goat. In general, its appearance resembles the usual goat-milker. But the size of the bird corresponds to the name: length reaches 55 cm, weight up to 230 g, the full wingspan in some cases can exceed 140 cm.

The plumage color is gray-brown. Along the entire cover are longitudinal light and dark stripes of irregular shape. The old tree trunk and the gigantic goat are painted the same.

Lifestyle & Habitat

In the afternoon, the goat sleeps. Protective color allows you to remain invisible. Moreover, the goats are located along the tree branch, and not across, as usual birds. More than on branches, birds like to settle on sticking out fragments of old trees. Kozoda in the photo it is indistinguishable from a hemp or a piece of wood.

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Birds are very confident in their mimic abilities. They do not leave their place even when a person approaches. Taking advantage of this, you can take your hands asleep during the day.

The main criterion for choosing a habitat is the abundance of insects. In the middle lane, river valleys, light forests and forest edges are often chosen as a nesting site. Sandy soil with dry litter is desirable. The flooded area the bird avoids.

It’s not easy to find a goat, thanks to its plumage the bird can practically merge with the tree trunk

In southern regions, areas covered with shrubs, semi-deserts, and desert outskirts are suitable for nesting. It is possible to meet with a goat in the foothills and mountainous regions, up to heights of several thousand meters.

There are few enemies in an adult bird. During the day, the bird slumbers, becomes active at dusk, at night. This saves from feathered aggressors. Superb camouflage guards against ground enemies. Predators mainly suffer from masonry. Chicks who do not know how to fly can also be attacked by small and medium-sized predators.

Agricultural development has a double effect on population size. In places where livestock are raised, the number of birds increases. Where pest control chemicals are widely used, what does a goat eatAs a result, it is difficult for birds to survive.

A goat is a migratory bird. But, as often happens, the species and populations that nest in the African regions, refuse seasonal migration, wander only in search of food. The ways of the seasonal migration of the common goat-litter run from European nesting sites to the African continent. Populations are located in eastern, southern and western parts of Africa.

The subspecies that inhabit the Caucasus and the Mediterranean migrate to southern Africa. From the steppes and foothills of Central Asia, birds fly to the Middle East and Pakistan. Kozodoi make flights one by one. Sometimes they go astray. They are occasionally observed in the Seychelles, Faroe Islands and other inappropriate territories.

The goat begins to feed in the evening. His favorite food is insects. A goat catches them near rivers, above the surface of swamps and lakes, above meadows where herds of animals graze. Insects grab on the fly. Therefore, the flight of the bird is fast, often changing direction.

Birds hunt in the dark. Guaharo, a close relative of the common goat, so close that guaharo is called a fat goat, has the usual echolocation ability for nocturnal birds and bats. Most species of goats do not have this ability. When hunting, they rely on vision.

With a large accumulation of insects are caught on the fly. The bird makes a non-stop flyby of a swarm of winged invertebrates. Another style of hunting is practiced. Being on a branch, the bird is looking for a bug or a large night moth. Having caught the victim, she returns to her observation post.

Of the insects, flying invertebrates are preferred. Gluttony and anatomical features allow you to eat large beetles, which are few who wish to eat. May bugs, crickets, grasshoppers go for food.

Sedentary arthropods are also included in the diet. Some species of goats catch small vertebrates. The stomach is not easy to cope with such food, so sand, pebbles and pieces of plants are added to ordinary food.

Reproduction and longevity

The mating season begins in the spring with the arrival of birds from the wintering grounds. In North Africa and southern Europe, this occurs in March-April. In temperate latitudes — in late spring, in early May. First males appear. They choose the intended location for the nest. Following females arrive.

With the arrival of the females, currenting begins. The male from evening dawn to morning sings rumbling songs. At the sight of a female, she begins to perform an air dance: flies off, demonstrates the ability to flutter and, even, hang in the air.

A joint flight is made to places suitable for arranging a nest. The choice is left to the female. Creating a pair and choosing a place for the nest ends with pairing.

A nest is a place on earth where eggs are laid. That is, any shaded piece of soil with a natural dry coating can become a masonry place. Neither the male nor the female spends efforts to build even the simplest shelter for eggs and chicks.

In the middle lane, laying is done at the end of May. In the southern regions this happens earlier. The female is not very prolific, lays two eggs. She almost constantly lays eggs. Only occasionally does a male replace her. A small number of eggs laid indicates that birds, in most cases, manage to successfully breed.

Goat Nest with Eggs

In case of danger, birds use their favorite tactics: they freeze, completely merge with the environment. Realizing that camouflage does not help, the birds try to take the predator away from the nest. To do this, the goat pretends to be easy prey, not able to fly.

17-19 days are spent on incubation. With an interval of one day, two chicks appear. They are almost completely covered in down. The first four days only a female feeds them. In the following days, both parents are engaged in food production for the chicks.

Since there are no nests as such, the chicks are located near the place where the masonry was made. Two weeks later, the fledged chicks try to take off. Another week passes and the chicks improve their flying qualities. At the age of five weeks, young goats fly no worse than adults.

When it is time to fly to wintering places, the chicks hatched this year do not differ from adult birds. They return from wintering as full-fledged goats, capable of prolonging the genus. Night owls do not live long, only 5-6 years. Birds are often kept in zoos. In captivity, their lifespan is significantly increased.

Goat hunting

Kozodoi have never been the subject of regular hunting. Although the relationship with a person in this bird was not easy. In the Middle Ages, goats were killed by superstition.

In Venezuela, local residents have long gathered large chicks in caves. They went for food. After the chicks grew up, the hunt for adults began. Europeans have determined that it is a goat-shaped bird. Since she had a number of unique anatomical features, a separate family of guaharos and a monotypic genus guaharos were organized for her. Due to its well-fed build, this bird is often called a fat goat.

Goat chicks in the nest

In the forests of Argentina, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Mexico lives gigantic goat. Local residents literally collected this large bird from the trees, throwing rope loops on them. Nowadays, hunting for a goat’s is banned everywhere.

A goat is a widespread bird; it does not face extinction. We rarely see her, we hear more often, but when we encounter her, we first hardly understand what it is, then we are immensely surprised.

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