Friday 23 August 2019

It's a bug's life: Public asked to help record ladybirds where they find them

Leaf well alone: Tadgh Crowley helps launch the app and appeal
Leaf well alone: Tadgh Crowley helps launch the app and appeal
Claire Murphy

Claire Murphy

The public are being asked to help record ladybirds for a new Irish research project.

Fota Wildlife Park in partnership with University College Cork, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences are managing The Irish Ladybird Survey which will help identify and record the various types of species here.

An Android app has been developed by UCC student Liam Kelly for the project called 'The status, threats, protection and conservation of ladybirds in Ireland'. Pictured at the launch was Tadgh Crowley from Fermoy.

The project is being run by research scholar Gill Weyman and is funded by the Irish Research Council and Fota Wildlife Park.

People are being asked to take a photo of any of the insects they find in their garden or elsewhere and upload it via the app.

"Ladybirds play such an important role in our environment - it's important to understand where they are located and what they feed on. It is now established in Cork city, but we need to know from this survey how far across the country it has spread, and we are especially interested in Dublin where records are low," said Gill Weyman.

"The Harlequin, which originates in Asia, is a new ladybird species in Ireland which preys on the larvae of native ladybirds and outcompetes our native species in terms of diet and reproduction.

"The new app, called Irish Ladybird Survey, is available free from Google Play store and it makes it very simple to upload an image of a ladybird, it automatically records the location."

Irish Independent

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