Lost Ladybug Project

Lost Ladybug Project

Throughout North America ladybug species distribution is changing. Over the past 20 years several native ladybugs once very common have become extremely rare. During this same time ladybugs from other places have greatly increased both their numbers and range. Some ladybugs are simply found in new places. This is happening very quickly and scientists don't know how, why or what impact it will have on ladybug diversity or the role that ladybugs play in keeping plant-feeding insect populations low.

Lost Ladybug Project is asking citizen scientists to help discover where all the ladybugs have gone so they can try to prevent more native species from becoming so rare. For example, to be able to help the nine-spotted ladybug and other ladybug species, scientists need detailed information on which species are still out there and how many individuals are around. Entomologists at Cornell can identify the different species but there are too few of these scientists to sample in enough places to find the really rare ones.

Cornell entomologists need citizen scientists to be their legs, hands and eyes by finding and photographing local ladybugs.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: John Losey, Associate Professor
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: Cornell University Entomology Department
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    How to join: Citizen scientists can get started right away. The first step is to find local ladybugs. Lost Ladybug Project offers tips for both finding and photographing ladybugs on its Web site. After photographing the ladybugs, citizen scientists should upload those images using a digital form available on the Lost Ladybug Project site. Photographs may also be mailed to the project's organizers in Ithaca, N.Y.

    For more information, contact the project:

See more projects in FreeFieldworkAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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