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A colourful little messiah in the fynbos - Walk in Africa
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Walk in Africa / Berzelia  / A colourful little messiah in the fynbos
14 Jun

A colourful little messiah in the fynbos

Everyone loves a ladybird and many cultures attribute them with various powers and associations. The Turks for instance believe that they bring luck. The Turks are going to need a lot of Ladybirds in order to get into the EU!!!!!

Historically ladybirds were also associated with the Goddess of fertility but more recently various European cultures associate them more frequently with the virgin Mary – which figures, since you can’t get much more fertile than to become pregnant without even having sex!!

Many cultures refer to ladybirds as god’s little animal or god’s little cow. But its highest accolade is that in some languages ladybirds are referred to as the little messiahs!

Whatever you believe, there is no doubt that they are amongst the most strikingly attractive insects. Here is a lunate ladybird (Cheilomenes lunata) which I saw on a recent walk while it was feeding on a Berzelia.

Ladybird copy

This species feeds almost entirely on Aphids, and so I’m sure in Aphid culture ladybirds are not considered to be the messiah – nor even lucky!!!!

When these ladybirds are disturbed, they secrete a bitter yellow fluid from the joints of their legs (you should try it sometime), which makes them distasteful to frogs, lizards, birds and other potential predators. Although we find them attractive, the purpose of their bright red and black colours is to warn would-be predators that they are unpalatable – so please don’t eat them. That would be bad luck for all participants.