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Spring is arriving

Spring is arriving
Photo Information
Copyright: Paul van Slooten (pvs) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-02-23
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Alfa dSLR A700, Minolta AF 200 mm / f:4 macro APO G, Digital RAW 100, UV Filter
Exposure: f/11, 1/400 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-02-24 2:17
Viewed: 3857
Points: 16
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Yesterday a sunny and fairly warm day (for the time of the year),while busy with some gardening I found this early Seven-spotted Lady Beetle and could make my first macro captures in 2008,

Lady birds (or Lady Beetles, sometimes even called Lady Bugs) are beetles that are very easy to identify: small, round bodies and usually red with black spots or the other way around. Perhaps they are the insects most people like best. Who hasn't been playing with these creatures being a child? Just put one on your hand, point upwards and the little creature, trying to find the highest point, will be running to the top of your vinger, where it will expose its wings and fly off. Probably they have always been populair in Europe, for there is a Christian touch to their names in other languages as well: lieveheersbeestje (good lord beetle) in Dutch and Marienkäfer (Maria beetle) in German. There are many more species in this family than most people realize. Most species can be identified by counting the dots on the shields. Those dots do not tell you what age the animal is (usually they live for just one year or shorter), but are good clues for naming the species. However one should be very careful, for there are a few species which are extremely variable. One of the most common species, the Two-spotted Lady Beetle, for instance is red with two black dots in its typical outfit. But some have more than just two black dots and the black dots can even be connecting, thus looking like dark stripes, hooks or lines. On the other hand the basic colour may be black instead of red. Some have two black dots on the red shields, but others might have four or even six black dots! Ladybirds all have colours to warn off predators. Colours like combinations of red and black or yellow and black are typical warning colours, just like in let's say wasps. And it works, for you will never see a bird eating a Ladybeetle, for they have a very bad taste and are slightly poisonous. When threatened many species will produce a drop of a smelly, yellowish and extremely untasty liquid, usually enough to scare away the attacker. We have divided the Ladybugs into three groups: first a very useful group, especially in ones garden: species eating aphids (plant-lice). These species are always red with black dots or the other way around. The second group consists of fungus eaters. These species are usually yellow or orange with black or white dots. Some species are harmful in the garden, especially those eating mildew. Parts of the fungus or the spores attach themselves to the feet of the beetle. When it flies off to another plant the parts or spores will be released. This way the beetles are unwillingly spreading the mildew around all over the garden. The third group is very small and consists of vegetarians.

Aphid Eating Lady Beetles

One of the most common Ladybugs is the Seven-spotted Lady Beetle, often referred to as the Sevenspot or the Sevenspotted Ladybird. Not very difficult to identify, for it is a typical ladybeetle, red with black spots and the total number of spots is seven. The seventh spot runs on both shields and just in front are two small white triangular shaped dots. Like all other ladybirds eating aphids they don't real track them down, they simply stuble over them. The adults can be seen from March to November mainly, but in winter some remain active. The size is typical for members of this family: some 6 to 8 mm. The larvae are blue with some pink spots. They are often found near an aphid colony, eating the sap suckers one by one. But, given the opportunity, they will be eating other small insects as well. You may also see ants chasing the larvae away. Nowadays this species is used commercially to fight aphid infections on plants, just like the Two-spotted Lady Beetle and some Green Flies.

mariki, Royaldevon, Argus, Alex99, uleko has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Paul,

Very nice close-up of this seven-spotted ladybird. Great sharpness. Excellent detail. Great light and sharpness.
Very good contrast against this white background.
Well done,

Hallo paul,

apart standpunt vandeze Lieveheersbeestje.
mooie scherptediepte en bij zijn kop lekker scherp.
Goed uit het midden en de kijkrichting net wat groter.
Prima gedaan.
Een klein zeurpuntje,de witte vlek rechts van het Lieveheersbeestje dat stoort ij een beetje.

groet Gert

  • Great 
  • batu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1079 W: 293 N: 4497] (16383)
  • [2008-02-24 2:59]

Hello Paul,
yes, a bit too early, but the signs of nature announce spring. I also observed some lady bugs
some days ago and this morning I inspected flowering catkins.
You show a nice portrait of the ... . ...! The bright background is particularly effective.
Best wishes, Peter

Hello Paul,

This is very early for ladybirds!
I particularly like this one that can perform upsidedown!

Superb macro! Wonderful detail and natural colours!

kind regards,
Bev :-)

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-02-24 4:35]

Hello Paul,
We were in the garden both today and yesterday but haven't seen any ladybirds yet. So this fine macro is a sign of spring that you had before us!
I like the sharpness showing the structure of the elytra (wingcases) and the POV in this fine close macro.
Thanks for sharing it,

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-02-24 5:28]

Hi Paul.
Perfect winter macro shot of ladybird. Last winter I took few similar pictures and know true winter colour palette. Excellent subjct, very goof DOF and details of the insect. Bravo.
P.S. Tell me, please, how fast and accurate AF of macro lens on A700 in comparison with KM 7D? Thanks.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-02-24 5:51]

Hej Paul,
Very fine macro of this Ladybird against an interesting light background. Great details and natural colours. Very well composed too.
TFS and cheers, Ulla

Ciao Paul,
ottimo primo piano di questa simpatica coccinella.

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