Subject: Ladybird Bug
Geographic location of the bug: Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia
Time: 01:30 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I am keen to identify this Ladybird Bug as friend or foe – have many of them in the garden.
How you want your letter signed: Lyndie
This is a very interesting submission for us. We quickly identified your Fungus Eating Lady Beetles, Illeis galbula, on the Brisbane Insect website where it states: “Both adults and larvae feed on fungus and black mold on leaves” and “The Fungus-eating Ladybird larvae grow up to 8-10mm. They are creamy white in colour with lines of black dots on their back. They are usually found feeding those black mold or fungus on leaves. The larvae runs very fast when disturbed. Larvae feed only on powdery mildew type of fungus (Oidium sp., Erysiphales) which infecting various plants. ” Most Lady Beetles are considered beneficial as they are predators, but we have never heard of a beneficial Lady Beetle eating detrimental fungus on plants. We decided to find another source for information, so we found the New Zealand Arthropod Collection Fact Sheet Series where it states: “This adventive ladybird was first found in New Zealand in 1985 in Auckland. It comes from Eastern Australia and is also found in New Guinea. It is now present in New Zealand’s North Island, where it occurs in gardens, parks, and other areas where powdery mildew fungi infested plants occur. It is most commonly seen on cucurbits (Curcurbaceae).” The site also states: “The adult and larval ladybirds eat powdery mildew fungi and are probably attracted to the smell of powdery mildew. This kind of fungus forms white growths on the surface of leaves that include its fruiting bodies (spores). In spring the over-wintering adults may feed on pollen. The adults and larvae of many fungal feeding ladybirds have modified mouth parts for scraping fungal hyphae and spores from the surface of leaves.”