The ladybugs of winter

 

for blogLast year I noticed something that I thought was odd, adult ladybugs of the introduced species Coccinella septempunctata (a.k.a. c7) were over-wintering in our backyard (table below). The c7’s weren’t overwintering as you would expect, they were active and I think even feeding on leaf hoppers.

Among the many questions I have rattling around:
Why not just pass the winter quiescent?
Is there a benefit derived from sun basking, does warming fight fungal infections?
I know for us homeotherms it is metabolically expensive to come out of overwintering states, insects?

The temperature data comes from an airport, not the habitat utilized by these c7’s. We did get snow (starting in November) but the snow never stayed for more than a couple days. To find 16 c7’s on 28 Dec 2011 that are active in my backyard seems like a lot.

The really odd thing is this year it is starting again…

when how many lo temp (F)
12/15/2011 1 16
12/18/2011 1 17
12/26/2011 1 19
12/28/2011 1 23
12/29/2011 1 37
12/30/2011 16 33
1/1/2012 1 15
1/2/2012 1 23
1/8/2012 1 20
1/12/2012 2 9
1/14/2012 1 13
1/20/2012 7 35
1/22/2012 9 27
1/25/2012 5 29
1/28/2012 3 20
1/29/2012 2 24
2/5/2012 6 21
2/19/2012 1 21
2/24/2012 10 24
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