• My Fair Lady Beetle

    Verified lady beetle species shared with the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist.

    Here at the Vermont Atlas of Life we’re always on the lookout for historic biodiversity data. When we find it, our mission is to save it from potentially being lost in the dustbin of history. Recently, we unearthed a 43 year old document – Lady Beetles: A Checklist of the Coccinellidae of Vermont. The authors listed the first and last date each species was collected in Vermont and the total number of specimens known, a snapshot of Lady Beetle life in Vermont prior to 1976.

    Since at least the 1980s, native Lady Beetles that were once very common across the Northeast have become rare or have even gone missing. But there was little information readily available from Vermont. Spurred on by this old document, we began to assemble as much data as possible. First, we digitized 201 records covering 37 species reported in the historic document. We added 185 Vermont records from the Lost Ladybug Project and uploaded them to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) through the Vermont Atlas of Life IPT server. This is coupled with over 400 verified photo-observations comprising 20 Lady Beetle species that community naturalists have reported to the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist that are also shared with GBIF.

    These datasets join other records at GBIF, where there are now 865 records representing 40 lady beetle species (seven introduced) available for use. Uniting Vermont data, stored in locations far and wide, shows the power of a data gathering infrastructure like the Vermont Atlas of Life and GBIF.

    Most records come from Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist users contributing photographs of these beetles. In 2018 alone, 13 verified species were documented from 128 observations. And observers have contributed some unique Vermont records to crowd-sourced databases:

    Lady beetles, aka ladybugs, are adored by many. But they are also important for farmers. Many species eat plant pests like aphids, scale insects, and mealybugs– which can be serious pests of trees, vegetables, and flowers. Lady beetles lay hundreds of eggs and when they hatch, the larvae immediately begin to feed. Several species are even collected and sold to growers for control of insect pests.

    The Missing Lady Beetles in Vermont

    What species are we missing now? Fourteen of the 34 native species known from Vermont have not been reported since the 1976 checklist was completed. Three of these species were designated as “species of greatest conservation need” in 2015 in New York: Two-spotted Lady Beetle (Adalia bipunctata), Nine-spotted Lady Beetle (Coccinella novemnotata), and Transverse Lady Beetle (C. transversoguttata). And the Nine-spotted Lady Beetle  was recently declared “Endangered” in Canada.

    An extensive USDA APHIS survey in 1993 failed to find any Nine-spotted Lady Beetles in 11 Northeastern states, including Vermont. Both the Two-spotted and the Nine-spotted lady beetles were both thought to be extinct in New York until citizen scientists rallied to help Cornell University Lost Ladybug Project search for them. In 2009 the Two-spotted was reported from western New York and in 2011 several Nine-spotted lady beetles were spotted by citizen scientists on Long Island.

    Help Us Find Vermont’s Missing Lady Beetles

    This year, we hope you’ll search for Lady Beetles near you and report them to the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist. Here’s a couple of resources to help you identify them too: Discover Life pictorial key  and a the Field Guide to Ladybugs of North America app for iphone. But no experience is necessary! Just find them, photograph them, and add them to the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist, even if you don’t know what species you found. Maybe you’ll be the lucky person to find one of our missing lady beetles!

    CheckList of the Lady Beetles of Vermont

    Common NameScientific NameLast ReportedStatus
    Five-spotted Lady BeetleHippodamia quinquesignata1890
    13-spotted Lady BeetleHippodamia tredecimpunctata1913
    Esteemed Lady BeetleHyperaspis proba1969
    Two-spotted Lady BeetleAdalia bipunctata1971
    Ten-spotted Lady BeetleBrachiacantha decempustulata1971
    Brachiacantha felina1973
    Scymnus fraternus1973
    Four-spotted Lady BeetleBrachiacantha quadripunctata1976
    Nine-spotted Lady BeetleCoccinella novemnotata1976
    Transverse Lady BeetleCoccinella transversoguttata1976
    11-spotted Lady BeetleCoccinella undecimpunctata1976Introduced
    Diomus terminatus1976
    Convergent Lady BeetleHippodamia convergens1976
    Glacial Lady BeetleHippodamia glacialis1976
    Undulate Lady BeetleHyperaspis undulata1976
    Pine Lady BeetleScymnus suturalis1976Introduced
    Bigeminy Lady BeetleHyperaspis bigeminata2006
    Painted Lady BeetleMulsantina picta2009
    Marsh Lady BeetleAnisosticta bitriangularis2012
    Streaked Lady BeetleMyzia pullata2013
    Undoubtable Lady BeetleBrachiacantha indubitabilis2014
    Hyperaspis binotata2014
    Tiny Lady BeetleNephus flavifrons2014
    Spotted Lady BeetleColeomegilla maculata2015
    Three-banded Lady BeetleCoccinella trifasciata2016
    Orange-spotted Lady BeetleBrachiacantha ursina2016
    Hieroglyphic Lady BeetleCoccinella hieroglyphica2017
    Cream-spotted Lady BeetleCalvia quatuordecimguttata2017
    Mountain Lady BeetleCoccinella monticola2017
    15-spotted Lady BeetleAnatis labiculata2018
    Eye-spotted Lady BeetleAnatis mali2018
    Twice-stabbed Lady BeetleChilocorus stigma2018
    Seven-spotted Lady BeetleCoccinella septempunctata2018Introduced
    Polished Lady BeetleCycloneda munda2018
    Mexican Bean BeetleEpilachna varivestis2018Introduced
    Parenthesis Lady BeetleHippodamia parenthesis2018
    Variegated Lady BeetleHippodamia variegata2018Introduced
    14-spotted Lady BeetlePropylea quatuordecimpunctata2018Introduced
    20-spotted Lady BeetlePsyllobora vigintimaculata2018
    Asian Lady BeetleHarmonia axyridis2019Introduced

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    Comments (2)

    1. Glm3glm3 says:

      Amazing number of lady beetle species! Good work.

    2. jerryspass says:

      Nice find. I didn’t even know there were that many different ones.

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