Ladybirds in our Catchment
When Ed Frazer started this project of producing a Ladybird Field Guide for the MCCG he thought he might find about 8 species on his property. In a relatively short time he found over thirty species, some of which are very small and only can be reliably identified by taxonomists looking at their minute differences with a microscope. The really colourful ones are relatively large, but are easily overlooked. Ladybirds are just as prevalent in the gardens in Kenmore as the large properties of Brookfield and Pullenvale.
Photographing such tiny animals with a high powered macro lens in the field has been a challenge. Ed found mid-morning was best as the Ladybirds were warming up in the sun and not moving around as the do later in the day when they tend to hide on the back of the leaves when they detect movements and shadows. Ed collected some of the 1 to 2mm black ones on the native trees by shaking the branches over an upturned umbrella and staging the photographs on a leaf while they are playing dead but that doesn’t last long before they take off and they are hard to keep still. It is possible to collect the Ladybirds and cool them in the fridge and stage the photos with good lighting to allow well focussed photos with a full depth of field. Ed prefers not to do that as he enjoys the challenge of using the natural light and conditions in the field.
To read more about the making of this guide go to Ed's Bush Bites ladybird article