Sunday, 31 May 2015

marienkäfer

An interesting archive article from the brilliant Ark-in-Space engrossingly (and timely for summer) profiles the bizarre life-cycle of the ladybug. This through treatment presents quite a few surprises like who knew of their voraciousness that includes cannibalism (called intraguild predation) and that nightmare, gila monster phase of development that they go through after hatching.

Auf Deutsch they are called Marienkäfer more clearly reflecting the belief that the hungry beetles are a godsend for farmers which summarily consume aphids and other pests that plague crops. Our Lady’s bug or bird also, in her most common variety, has seven black dots on her shell to represent the seven joys and seven sorrows of the Virgin Mary. Incidentally, the original English meaning of sorry was to be covered in spots—aggrieved with sores, and came closer to the sense of being regretful or feeling woe came out of this connection. Here is a poor little ladybug who might have ventured out too early in the season and managed to press itself between the panes of my window. Having become a graveyard for quite a few insects, I always wonder how it is that they wedge themselves in there in the first place. That is not a pleasant way for anything to end its life-cycle.  I ought to provide better alternative accommodations with one of those bug hotels.