Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The ladybugs are vanishing from New York. In particular, the nine spotted ladybug (which is know in the scientific community as the C-9,) has become very rare.The once-ubiqutous red bugs remain the state insect of New York, though their population has been in decline since 1987. Scientists don't know why the C-9's numbers are falling. The C-9 has only been photographed once in the area in the last fifteen years.
IC professor Jason Hamilton has teamed up with Cornell University professor John Losey to search for the spotted creatures and to try and piece together why they're disappearing.
The insect is vital to the ecological stability of our area. Though there are many other varieties of ladybugs around, the professors are curious to know what's happening to the C-9.
Professor Losey believes that the C-9 is probably still around in lower densities.
In an attempt to find a C-9, the professors organized a hunt that involved 25 volunteers from the community. The professors and the volunteers searched the fields around Hanshaw Road for two days, and they ended up finding 800 ladybugs. They found a variety of species but no C-9.
Hamilton and Losey plan to continue with the project and expand it nationwide. The effort is part of a Citizen Science Project, which is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
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