Ladybug


Ladybug

Coccinellidae
Photo: Ladybug on cholla cactus
Ladybugs, ladybirds, or lady beetles—whatever one calls them—are favored by farmers as voracious pest-eaters.
Photograph by Raul Touzon
Many people are fond of ladybugs because of their colorful, spotted appearance. But farmers love them for their appetite. Most ladybugs voraciously consume plant-eating insects, such as aphids, and in doing so they help to protect crops. Ladybugs lay hundreds of eggs in the colonies of aphids and other plant-eating pests. When they hatch, the ladybug larvae immediately begin to feed.
Ladybugs are also called lady beetles or, in Europe, ladybird beetles. There are about 5,000 different species of these insects, and not all of them have the same appetites. A few ladybugs prey not on plant-eaters but on plants. The Mexican bean beetle and the squash beetle are destructive pests that prey upon the crops mentioned in their names.
Ladybugs appear as half-spheres, tiny, spotted, round or oval-shaped domes. They have short legs and antennae.
Read full here...http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/bugs/ladybug/

Black Widow Spider

Black Widow Spider


Latrodectus hesperus

Photo: Female black widow spider on a leaf
Notorious for their bloodthirsty courtship, black widow spiders are identified by the colored markings on their black bodies.
Photograph by George Grall
Black widows are notorious spiders identified by the colored, hourglass-shaped mark on their abdomens. Several species answer to the name, and they are found in temperate regions around the world.
This spider's bite is much feared because its venom is reported to be 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake's. In humans, bites produce muscle aches, nausea, and a paralysis of the diaphragm that can make breathing difficult; however, contrary to popular belief, most people who are bitten suffer no serious damage—let alone death. But bites can be fatal—usually to small children, the elderly, or the infirm. Fortunately, fatalities are fairly rare; the spiders are nonaggressive and bite only in self-defense, such as when someone accidentally sits on them.
The animals most at risk from the black widow's bite are insects—and male black widow spiders. Females sometimes kill and eat their counterparts after mating in a macabre behavior that gave the insect its name. Black widows are solitary year-round except during this violent mating ritual.
These spiders spin large webs in which females suspend a cocoon with hundreds of eggs. Spiderlings disperse soon after they leave their eggs, but the web remains. Black widow spiders also use their webs to ensnare their prey, which consists of flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars. Black widows are comb-footed spiders, which means they have bristles on their hind legs that they use to cover their prey with silk once it has been trapped.
Find more here... http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/bugs/black-widow-spider/

Scarab

Scarab


Scarabaeidae
Photo: Scarab
Most scarabs are monotone black or brown, but some wear bright colors, intricate patterns, an iridescent glow, or even a metallic sheen.
Photograph by David C. Hawks
Scarabs are a mesmerizingly diverse family of beetle found in every part of the world except in the oceans and on Antarctica. There are about 30,000 scarab species comprising about 10 percent of all known beetles.
The June bug pinging incessantly off your front porch light is a type of scarab. The Japanese beetle that savages your landscaping? A scarab as well. The enormous rhinoceros beetles of Central and South America are scarabs. And perhaps the most famous member of the family, the sacred scarab, was actually worshipped by the Egyptians as the embodiment of the sun god Khepri.
Most scarabs are monotone black or brown in color. But many, particularly tropical varieties, explode with bright colors and intricate patterns. There are even species that are iridescent and some with a truly unnatural-looking metallic sheen.
Scarabs are generally oval-shaped and stout, ranging in size from miniscule to mythic. The smallest grow to about 0.08 inches (0.2 centimeters) while the Hercules beetle can reach a palm-covering 6.7 inches (17 centimeters) in length.
Diets of these beetles vary from species to species. Some consume live plants and are considered agricultural pests. Some eat fruit, fungi, carrion, or insects. There’s even a variety that subsists on the slime left by snails.
But the most well-known diet item is consumed by the scarabs called dung beetles. These beetles subsist entirely on the undigested nutrients in the waste of herbivores like sheep, cattle, and elephants. The Egyptian sacred scarab is a dung beetle.
Dung beetles have a keen sense of smell that allows them to hone in on their favorite food and use specialized mouth parts to draw out moisture and nutrients from the waste. Some species simply live in the dung, while others form perfectly spherical dung balls, which they roll with their hind legs, often over large distances, to a place where they can bury it. Females plant a single egg in a dung ball where it matures from larva to fully formed beetle, feeding off the waste. Because they move so much waste underground, dung beetles are considered essential to controlling disease and pests among livestock.
Read full here...  http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/bugs/scarab/#close-modal
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