Thursday, 28 June 2012

Harmonia testudinaria in Singapore?

Remote hunting for ladybirds in Singapore is proving both interesting and frustrating. A search for 'ladybird singapore' on Flickr provides lots of hits, for example. This can give some clues about where and when to look for these beetles, but not necessarily the name of the species found.
The examples uploaded to Flickr for ladybirds do not look similar to the species found in the United Kingdom. I am guessing that there would be more of an overlap with the ladybirds present in Australia. That could be helpful as there are efforts, in the 'Atlas of Living Australia' to map the presence of ladybird species there. Another site interested in of ladybirds present in Australia is 'Ladybirds of Australia', especially the Image Gallery.
One ladybird that seems to be present in both Singapore and Australia is Harmonia testudinaria.
Harmonia testudinaria 2

One was seen on March 8, 2008 in Choa Chu Kang New Town, South West, Singapore. It has been mapped across Australia in the Atlas of Living Australia.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Are there any ladybirds in Singapore?

Some visitors from Singapore came round to visit us and left with a challenge to find out more about the ladybirds of Singapore. They took this on armed only with a guide to the ladybirds of the UK. To be honest, I didn't know if there are any ladybirds in Singapore. But they seemed keen and confident that they were there to be seen.
It turns out that there are ladybirds in Singapore and they do look a little different to their UK cousins. For example: a question was raised on the Nature Society (Singapore) Forum about ladybirds, including a picture of what looks like an 8-spot ladybird.
Another site carries a warning that not everything that looks like a ladybird turns out to be one. There are spiders that are excellent ladybird-mimics.There are some surprising pictures on this site on Macro-photography in Singapore.
There are people too who share a passion for ladybird spotting. In November 2011 The Curious Gardener blogged about different ladybirds the the habits that she had observed. As in the UK,  there are some aphid eating ladybirds and some that have adapted to eating mildrew. Of course, ladybirds across the world all go through the same stages of larva, pupae and adult.
So from a quick survey of sites on the Internet, it appears that the challenge of spotting ladybirds in Singapore is a valid, but challenging one. How many types of ladybird can be found? What is the best time of year for spotting them? What kinds of food do they prefer? Are they increasing or decreasing on the island? What steps are people taking to ensure that their own children are able to take delight in these amazing creatures?