Photo via Lost Ladybug Project’s Facebook
Way back in the 1960s and ’70s, the nine-spotted ladybug was the most common ladybug in the northeastern US. So beloved was this particular ladybug that it was designated as the official state insect of New York in the late ’80s. But even as it received this honor, the bug had already begun to disappear, pushed out by the dastardly seven-spotted ladybug instead. By 1999, scientists believed the nine-spotter had sadly gone extinct. But dry your tears, insect-lovers! Because the nine-spotted ladybug has just been spotted-alive and well-on an Amagansett farm.
It’s the first time the ladybug has been seen on the east coast in 29 years, said Cornell University professor John Losey, who runs the Lost Ladybug Project, which enlists citizen scientists to survey ladybug populations. One eagle-eyed project participant discovered a nine-spotter in a sunflower on the organic farm earlier this summer, and Losey and his team uncovered more than 20 other ladybugs in the area. “Everyone is really excited about this,” Losey told The Post. “To find a ladybug that we really thought was completely gone from New York in such numbers is just wonderful.”
The farm that the bugs were found on is on government-protected land, which Losey described as the “perfect” place for “these insects to be safe and to thrive.” Here’s a look at the ladybugs in action. Sort of.