Monday 21 March 2022

Ladybirds in Cemeteries

 At the weekend, Crafty Green Boyfriend and I visited North Merchiston Cemetery, one of the two closest cemeteries to our flat, and one of the places we discovered as part of our #DailyExercise route during lockdown. We noticed that there were quite a few ladybirds still hibernating on some of the gravestones, although from the photos below, you can see that some of them are starting to move about now that it's warming up for the Spring. 

Two standard form two spot ladybirds (one starting to go for a walk) and one sexpustulata form. 

                                                              cream spot ladybird 


                                                                    pine ladybird

Today I visited Corstorphine Hill cemetery as part of my ongoing wildlife survey of all the cemeteries managed by the City of Edinburgh Council. I've already surveyed every cemetery once, and so now am surveying selected sites for a second time. I saw several ladybirds in this cemetery too, including this crowd of orange ladybirds - you may notice that the ladybird on the top row, second from the right looks as though it has been attacked, probably by a hungry bird. Ladybirds mostly don't taste good to predators though, so the bird probably gave up quite quickly!

Cemeteries are known to be great sites to find hibernating ladybirds, probably because the gravestones offer a good surface for them to land on when they fall from the trees and also because many gravestones are carved with ornate designs that offer nice hiding places where these insects can try to keep warm in the winter.

I was delighted the other day to be invited to a discussion about ladybirds in cemeteries, you can watch and listen to the event here.                                           




Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

That's very interesting Juliet -- I never thought about gravestones as hosts for them, but I can definitely see how they would work. I may already have told you when we lived and traveled full time in our "big" RV, we several times had ladybugs (as we call them) hibernating or hatching (depending on the season of course) on the outside -- large, flat, warm and bright white seemed to be the drawing card. Bill said that we changed the gene pool because we couldn't always gently persuade all of them to hop off before we traveled on to our next destination.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Sallie, it would be very interesting to know what effect your RV had on populations of ladybugs in the areas you've travelled through

Lowcarb team member said...

How lovely to see these ladybirds.

All the best Jan

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Sheesh, I only ever see 7 spotters, harlequins and the occasional 2 spotter here!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Jan, it certainly is!

Hi Simon, that's a shame! Before I started surveying the Edinburgh graveyards, that was all I saw too (except for a couple of places where orange ladybirds hibernate in fences). Our graveyards are brilliant for ladybirds!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi again Simon, just to let you know that Blogger has suddenly stopped me from commenting on your blog! I liked your recent photos, specially the tortoiseshell butterflies!