I am excited that my internship is officially underway! In the midst of these uncertain times, my work has started out remotely. Professor Losey, one of my supervisors, directs the Lost Ladybug Project (LLP), a citizen science program that seeks to understand the rapidly changing diversity and distribution of ladybugs in North America. The LLP has posters listing the ladybug species found in other states, like Maine and South Dakota, but doesn’t have one for New York.
One of my first tasks is to create a poster of ladybugs found in New York. The existing posters show pictures of the pinned ladybug specimens, but we wanted to show pictures of ladybugs in their natural habitat.
Instead of listing all the ladybugs found in New York, we wanted our poster to focus on ten of the most important or common species found in New York to aid in identification.
We also want our poster to include multiple pictures of each species to show the variation in the ladybug’s markings and color. For example, the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle, Harmonia axyridis, can appear red with spots, yellow with spots, have no spots, or be almost black with red spots. We wanted people identifying ladybugs to be aware of this variation.
But finding just the right photos for our poster wasn’t easy. I had to review hundreds of user-submitted images on the LLP image database and pick out the best contenders for our poster.
After narrowing it down to a dozen or less, Professor Losey and the LLP’s staff entomologists reviewed the images to help me narrow it down to just three images. I’m excited to see what next week brings and to create this poster!