...and their larvae.
We found these while visiting the Tinsley Homestead, the living history farm connected with the Museum of the Rockies. There was a row of sunflowers planted amongst beans, and squash, in a traditional Native American style, and absolutely loaded with ladybugs.
I slipped inside the farmhouse, and asked whether they had been purposely released around the "farm", or if they had just showed up. Apparently, they came on their own, and local to the area.
The children noticed right away, that both the ladybugs, and the larvae were different than what we've been seeing around our yard.
So, for a fall challenge, I've asked the older children to look online, and in printed field guides, to see if they can identify the various ladybugs we've photographed this summer, and match them with the correct larvae. Of the almost 5000 species of ladybugs, nearly 400 can be found in North America. It ought to prove quite challenging to identify the 5 or 6 varieties we've bumped into, this summer.
I've already identified a couple, like the Seven Spotted Ladybug (looked for by the folks at Cornell University's Lost Ladybug Project)...
...and the Asian Ladybug, pictured to the right, and distinguished by its oval shape, orangy color, multiple spots, and "M" on its head, but I've really been stumped by some of the others. I'm curious to see how the children do.
It ought to keep our entomology up, well into the fall.
For more science themed fun and ideas for children, check out the Science Sunday link-up, hosted by Adventure's in Mommydom.
It's great to be a homeschooler.