Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ladybugs and their Life Cycle



Photo-observations of Ladybugs from larva to pupa to adult beetles



In mid-spring with the greening of the Great Basin Desert, strange tiny alligator-like creatures seem to appear when the Filaree plants begin to grow.  These colorful, fearsome, elongated insects that  cling to walls and scurry along walkways are actually the larval stage of Ladybugs.  



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Ladybugs are in fact small beetles, Coccinellidae, that only reach from 2 to 10 millimeters in size.  The Ladybugs or Lady Beetles were given their unique name as legend goes, when many hundred years ago European farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary for help to save their crops from a plague of insects. The tiny red beetles arrived in swarms and began devouring the pests, so they were appropriately named Lady beetles.  Lady beetles were introduced to the U.S. from Europe and became known as Ladybugs.   


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Ladybugs are not harmful to humans and are one of the most beneficial critters to have in the garden because they eat aphids, scale insects and plant mites.  As a defense mechanism and to ward off predators, the adult ladybug displays a vivid red shell.  If threatened small drops of blood with a foul odor are released from the leg joints.  


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Come spring, the female ladybug lays her eggs on the underside of an especially selected leaf.  In 4 to 10 days, the larvae hatch and begin eating any aphids or other appropriate insects.  They may also eat the egg casing and/or their siblings. 


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 The ladybug larva continues to grow and will shed the exoskeleton five to seven times in the larval stage. 


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Continuing to develop and between 10 to 14 days, the larva will find a stable structure and affix itself to begin metamorphosis into a lady beetle; this is the pupa stage of the ladybug's life cycle.  


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A hard shell protects the pupa during the 7 to 10 day transformation.  

 
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When the young ladybug first emerges from pupa, its body is soft and dull in color.  At this stage it is most vulnerable.

 
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As the beetle develops into an adult ladybug, the shell will harden and become more vibrant in color.  The orange-red color of the shell is a defense mechanism that is perceived as a warning for predators to keep their distance.  

 
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The diet of ladybugs consists not only of small garden pests but also pollen from flowers and water from shallow surfaces.  

In defense of these beneficial garden allies, I have become much more conscientious with my insect and weed control.  A broom takes care of most unwanted creepy crawlers and a sharp hoe removes the weeds.  I get the exercise while the ladybugs do their work.  


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With El Nino still in the weather forecast, the Great Basin area of Northern Nevada is getting more rain, so follow my blog and check back often to see where my next photo-adventure takes me. 


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For additional information on Lady beetles:

 http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2015/04/ladybugs-called/





No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.


"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"


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Many of these images are available on our website.
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Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Photo Hike in Panum Crater



 Photo-exploring a dormant volcano
 


Since witnessing the fiery red lava fountains on Hawaii's Mauna Loa volcano from the air, I have always had a fascination for volcanoes.  It was just by chance that I decided to relocate to an area in Northern Nevada that is an hour's drive to the Mono Craters which are the youngest volcanic chain in North America.  


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 Located in Mono County the Mono Craters are a volcanic chain of craters, domes and lava flows that stretch 25 miles in Eastern California from the northwest shore of Mono Lake to Mammoth Mountain.  


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My goal with weather permitting is to explore as many of the Mono Craters as possible.  In early April between spring storms, I began my photo-exploration to the Panum Crater which is the most accessible of all craters.


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Panum Crater is a 650 year old dormant rhyolitic volcano that formed over two stages.  The first eruption blew out cinders, ash and pumice, forming the outer rim.  


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In the second stage, lava continued to rise and eventually formed a hardened dome or Plug Dome.  The hot molten lava squeezed up through cracks in the dome forming obsidian spires.  The spires toppled under their own weight, leaving colorful bands of pumice and obsidian. 


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A hiking trail, the Rim Trail runs along the outer rim of Panum Crater. 


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 Following the walking path is taking a step back in time, which lies over fine gravel that is composed of small bits of pumice, ash, obsidian fragments and granitic pebbles that were ejected during the eruption. Due to the sharp, glass like edges on the obsidian, it is best to wear sturdy, enclosed shoes. 


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 Along the Rim Trail colorful rocks with green hues are stacked like a crumbling fortress that overlook a scenic view back toward pumice slopes.


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An additional trail, the Plug Trail leads up to the center of Panum Crater and the lava dome. 


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 Climbing higher, just past the Crater's slope a nice view of Mono Lake comes in to sight.  


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Continuing up to the summit of the dome the trail becomes narrow, requiring careful footing.  


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Jagged rocks colored with streaks of pumice and black obsidian reach toward the sky and must be what remains of the collapsed spires. 

 
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Dark obsidian shines in the light and stands out against the grey pumice.  


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Obsidian was used by the Native American Paiute Tribe for making arrowheads. 


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Swirls of obsidian and pumice lie forged together giving the appearance of cooling magma. 


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An abstract palette of nature's creative design. 


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As the day wears long, a breeze reminds me that it is time to carefully plot my steps back down this sharp, rocky trail.  What an adventure this has been!  To stand inside a dormant volcano and experience the creativity of nature.  Descending the Plug Trail, the  view of the Eastern Sierra come into sight.  I can hardly wait to come back and explore one of the other Mono Craters.  Follow my Blog and check back often to see where my photo-adventures have been.


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No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.

 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.


"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"


Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.