Vermont’s Lady Beetles

Vermont’s Lady Beetles

January 13, 2022| Categories: Observing, What's Happening

The Fairbanks Museum has been working in collaboration with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies to digitize the museum’s lady beetle collections, adding to our knowledge of Vermont’s lady beetle populations. Lady beetles, also known as “ladybugs” are in the beetle family Coccinellidae, and 35 native species are found throughout the state. They vary widely in appearance, color, and size, and many serve as beneficial species by preying upon aphids and other insect pests. Lady beetles have declined in Vermont as well as nationwide due to land use change, pesticide use, and the introduction of non-native species, like the Asian Lady Beetle.

The Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE) has established the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas to increase our understanding of the current status of Vermont’s lady beetle populations by conducting field surveys and revisiting historic records. Before recent volunteer efforts, twelve of Vermont’s 35 native lady beetle species had not been seen in over 40 years, when the last full survey of Vermont’s lady beetle fauna was completed in the 1970s. VCE relies on citizen science observations to collect new lady beetle data. Already, volunteer naturalists have rediscovered four of Vermont’s lost lady beetle species. Institutions like the Fairbanks Museum play a vital role in understanding past populations of lady beetles in Vermont as well. Over 1000 lady beetle specimens from the Museum’s collections have been added to the Atlas as VCE staff and volunteers have meticulously digitized identifying information, dates, and locations for each beetle. On several occasions, these specimens have contributed most recent occurrences or substantial numbers of data points to species that have rarely been observed in Vermont. You can view the Fairbanks Museum’s contributions to the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas here!

Come see a new exhibit opening in the Museum that showcases some of our lady beetle collections and discusses how you can participate in the Vermont Center for Ecostudies citizen science project, on display when our doors reopen on January 29.

Want to hone your observation skills and become a citizen scientist? Join the Vermont Center for Ecostudies for their Mission Identify webinar on Zoom, January 25th at 7:00 PM.

The Fairbanks Museum’s lady beetle collections are now part of the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas, allowing citizens and researchers to access the data.

 

VCE staff and volunteers recording data from the Museum’s lady beetle collections before they go on exhibit.

 

Tags: citizen science, Fairbanks Museum, nature