Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It’s the lady-brrrrds! Insects lured out by warm snap caught unawares by sub-zero temperatures (but don’t worry, they will thaw out)


Ice, ice, lady: A group of ladybirds are frozen over in Watts Wood Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, after temperatures plummeted overnight

The current cold snap has taken many of us by surprise - and these frozen ladybirds are no exception.
Although they are usually only active in summer, the recent spell of unseasonably warm weather has lured the bugs out of their winter hiding spots.
And these unlucky insects must have got a short sharp shock when sub-zero temperatures swept across the country today, leaving a thick coat of ice on their shells.

The ladybirds were spotted in Watts Wood Nature Reserve, Lincolnshire, by keen wildlife photographer Mark Johnson, 43, from Dunholme.
He said: 'I’ve never seen them frozen like that before - I started snapping away as soon as I spotted them.
'They’ve been out and about in the warmer weather recently so maybe the cold weather caught them by surprise.'
'Later on in the day when they had thawed out you could see them moving around as if nothing had happened.'

Spot of bother: Two of the ladybirds have an ice coat whilst one seems to have avoided the big chill

Dr Peter Brown, zoology Lecturer lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University and an author of the UK Ladybird Survey, said that the recent fluctuations in cold weather may explain why the insects came out.
Dr Brown explained that insects such as ladybirds go through a process called ‘overwintering’ during cold months.

Tight squeeze: The ladybirds huddle together under a branch in Watts Wood, Lincolnshire

He said: 'It’s not quite like hibernation of mammals as they can come out of it on warmer days.
'They are around all year but not normally active in January, though they can withstand sub-zero temperatures
'They may come out of dormancy and perhaps take in a little water and bask on a sunny day in winter.
'But they will shut down again and only become properly active from about March.'

source: dailymail

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