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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Systems Are Go

I guess if you are going to eat 50 or 60 aphids in a day, you had better move really fast. So this ladybug larva caught my eye by staying still. Turns out, it was molting. As I watched, it completed its molt successfully as its old exoskeleton dropped away. Notice how deep the furrows are in its new bigger "skin". Next, the larva will puff itself up to expand the exoskeleton before it hardens. Then, it will accelerate to feeding-speed to find and consume enough aphids to fill up all that empty space.

Weirdly, that appears to be a molt from a smaller (earlier stage) ladybug larva there in front of the larva.

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