Ladybug mom provides infertile eggs as baby food | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


News

Ladybug mom provides infertile eggs as baby food

By
8:51am, July 20, 2005

When food gets scarce, ladybugs lay extra dud eggs that can end up as emergency rations for youngsters that do hatch.

"Ladybugs are really cannibalistic at lots of life stages," says Jennifer C. Perry of the University of Toronto. Larvae often eat infertile eggs as well as eggs that would have developed into their siblings. Perry says that she wondered whether the nonviable eggs were just fertility glitches or an adaptation to food shortages.

She tallied the eggs laid by female multicolored Asian ladybugs (Harmonia axyridis) given plenty of aphids. After the ladybugs reached peak health, she skimped on the rations for some of them for 24 hours.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from the Science News Archives