05 September 2014

Sketchbook snapshot: Not all ladybugs are created equal

This week's column was about ladybugs. I learned a LOT about them while researching and drawing in prep for the article.

As with most Drawn to Quebec columns, the bottom line is that even ladybugs in aren't as simple as they seem. For one thing, they're not 'true bugs' at all. Technically, we should be calling these iconic carmine-colored insects beetles. As in 'lady beetles.'

A lady beetle sketched in the woods, before
I knew they were properly called 'lady beetles.'
Beyond that, some of North America's native lady beetles are in serious trouble. This week's article explores that in plenty of detail, so have a look.

Then, check out the resources below, and go hunting for local lady beetles!

Want to help scientists catalog ladybugs?
Check out the Lost Ladybug Project and their handy smart phone app. You can quickly snap photos of any lady beetles you see, and almost instantly upload your photo into a database that is enabling entomologists (insect scientists) to figure out what kind of lady beetles are where.

Resources for i
dentifying insects:*

Great books for getting kids excited about insects:*

Click here to browse the Drawn to Quebec bookshelf, which features handy links to the titles recommended in the column and here on the blog.


  1. In England they do refer to our "lady bug" as a "lady beetle". Although, it was ladybird (not lady beetle)... that's what had me so intrigued. I saw it mentioned in a children's story somewhere. Thought it was pretty. You answered my question as to why.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Michèle. What you describe is is an excellent example of the complexity (and confusion) of 'common' or colloquial names for plants and creatures. Around the world, a particular animal or flower could be known by half a dozen different names. It is for this reason that scientists and others who study and manage the flora and fauna of our planet tend to refer to organisms by their scientific (Latin- and Greek-derived) names. While the ladybug/ladybird/lady beetle may have many names in many languages, the nine-spotted lady beetle, for example, is consistently Coccinella novemnotata everywhere it occurs.