Spotless Lady Beetle (Cycloneda sanguinea)
Even as I puddled along at twenty miles an hour, the tiny spot of red, shining in the midst of a landscape turned sere by time and frost, compelled my attention.
Assuming I’d come across a last flower of summer, I stopped and walked across the ditch, where I discovered not a flower, but an insect commonly known as a lady bug. Both spotless and shy, he seemed unwilling to pose for a portrait, and scurried into the depths of the plant on which I’d found him.
For ten minutes we played hide-and-seek, until he emerged onto a leaf for a bit of a rest.
Then, he was off again. Why he preferred running to flying I don’t know, but he was both speedy and determined: never pausing again as long as I watched.
At last, turning to face me before one last run for cover, he showed off the markings that identified him as a male (a white cleft above the head and a white face), then disappeared.
Despite years of lady bug watching, collecting, admiring, and enjoying, I never had looked beyond their colorful wing covers. Next time, given better photographic skills or a more cooperative lady beetle, I may achieve a crisper image. But for now, I have a face to put with that distinctive red body, and it’s a face that even a human can love.
Comments always are welcome.