A Golden Ladybug
Tabatha Yang saw it first.
She's the education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis.
What she saw--in a grassy field at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, west of the central campus--was a golden ladybug, aka lady beetle.
It looked just like a yellow jelly bean.
Systemic entomologist Natalia Vandenberg of the Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, identified it as Coccinella septempunctata.
Tabatha is "holding an adult ladybug that is newly eclosed from the pupa," Vandenberg said. "Note that the flight wings are yellow in the teneral adult instead of grey and they are stretched out so that they can expand fully and dry properly. The pronotal markings and body shape identify this as a member of the genus Coccinella. When the adult first leaves the pupa the dark pigment of the pronotum is already present, but the elytral spots develop gradually."
"If you had watched the beetle for 15 minutes the spots would begin to show. There is a spotless Coccinella that occurs in California (C. californica), but what you have is most likely to be a 7 spot that hasn’t developed the spots yet."
We watched it for several minutes and then released it back into its habitat.
By now, it's no doubt formed those characteristic spots.
Somewhere out there is a yellow jelly bean....with spots.
Golden ladybug, Coccinella septempunctata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Zipping along, a golden ladybug, Coccinella septempunctata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)