Ladybug Memorial Service
By Marissa Gravett and Ladybug(s)

Started on: 04/29/13 00:59:21
Medium: Conceptual

Is it just me, or are there an overwhelming amount of ladybugs around lately? Maybe it’s because my eyes are naturally drawn to them because I have always had a strong affinity for ladybugs ever since I was little, but I see them everywhere. While walking on the beach the other day, I saw a shocking site: hundreds of dead ladybugs along the shoreline like red sprinkles in the sand. I walked along this line of dead ladybugs for about 100 yards, in complete awe of the sight. At first it seemed like just a few dead ones, but the more I walked, the more I noticed the disturbing amount of red color taking over the shoreline. I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of sadness while walking along the beach. I did happen to find two ladybugs that were still alive, struggling to escape the strength of the upcoming wave.
I decided to do a mini project and collaborate with these two living ladybugs. I picked them up from the sand and let them crawl around my arm. I decided to hold a “memorial service” for all of the dead ladybugs. I walked slowly along the shoreline of dead ladybugs with the two that I had rescued. I was trying to allow them to say goodbye to all of the others who did not make it. After, I brought the two ladybugs onto the shore away from the water so that they could dry their wings and continue on with their lives. Although I am not really sure if the live ladybugs felt anything during the “memorial service”, it had an effect on me. Afterwards, my sense of sadness dissipated and a feeling of relief came over me. The live ones were saved, and the dead ones were said goodbye to properly It was at this point when my inner biologist got extremely curious as to why this happened and I did a thorough Google search, but could find no proven information. The mystery lives on.

hundreds of dead lady bugs along the shoreline

Live ladybug on my arm

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Project Updates
04/29/13 19:23:20 - Possible reasons for this phenomenon

Today, I felt frustrated not knowing why I witnessed this mass amount of lady bug deaths. I decided to ask my invertebrate zoology professor, an expert on all things insect related. He told me that he was not 100% sure, but that there were two plausible reasons for this. One of his ideas was that the ladybugs had a salt deficiency and made their way to the ocean to obtain salt, but ended up being crushed by the power of the waves. Another idea was that an ocean living parasite entered into all the ladybugs and took over their brains, causing them to go to the water and essentially commit suicide so that the parasites could continue their life cycles in the marine environment. So crazy! Just though I'd share.

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