It is said that if a ladybug lands on you it is a sign of good luck. This old myth proved to be accurate when a Montana State University student discovered a new species of ladybug that appeared to be headless.
Ross Winton made the discovery in a trap he set at a sand dune in southwest Montana. The MSU entomology graduate student was rather perplexed when he first saw the insect, thinking it was some kind of headless beetle. As scientists further examined the specimen, they were able to determine that the insect was actually a ladybug. The scientists also discovered the ladybug actually does have a head, but it’s hidden inside it’s thorax, much like a tortoise with it’s head tucked into it’s shell.
There have only been two specimens of the tan, pinhead-sized ladybug ever collected, with another female ‘headless’ ladybug found 90 miles away in Idaho. Scientists say that this ‘headless’ ladybug is the rarest species in the United States, and is quite an accomplishment considering the ladybug isn’t much larger that a grain of sand.
Scientists generally use male species to catalogue and name new discoveries, so Ross Winton was given the naming right to the rare ladybug. He decided to name it Aleenius Iviei after one of his Montana State University professors. It’s common name will be “Winton Labybird Beetle.”
Using Ladybugs as Natural Pest Control
Ladybugs are quite amazing creatures. Aside from being a favorite insect among young children, ladybugs are a favorite among homeowners and gardeners as well. They are considered beneficial insects, because many species feed on aphids, spider mites, and mealy bugs that traditionally wreak havoc on crops and destroy gardens.
Some homeowners and gardeners have a lot of success introducing beneficial insects into their gardens, flower beds, and property. These natural exterminators can provide a very useful pest control service. By providing appropriate living conditions, which require very little support, homeowners can encourage the growth and development of ladybugs and other beneficial insects.
Keep Your Eyes Open
The discovery of this new ‘headless’ ladybug is quite exciting news for pest control operators and insect enthusiasts alike. Scientists predict that humans have only discovered 20 percent of the world’s insects. Next time you’re out camping, or even in your front yard, keep a look out for any bug that appears to be out of the ordinary… You might discover a new species and get to name it!