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Photo#82272
Ladybird on cactus - Hyperaspis trifurcata

Ladybird on cactus - Hyperaspis trifurcata
Santiago Oaks, Orange, Orange County, California, USA
October 3, 2006
While you can't see it in this series, cacti in this patch* are loaded with cochineal, the scale insect. This beetle (Hyperaspis trifurcata) feeds on their larvae and, from this food source, derives the prey's carminic acid which serves as a defensive chemical. When disturbed, the beetle discharges the chemical with drops of blood. (My guess is that the red drops and smears in some of these images are that blood.)

*If you'd like more on the habitat, see:

Images of this individual: tag all
Ladybird on cactus - Hyperaspis trifurcata Ladybird on cactus - Hyperaspis trifurcata Ladybird on cactus - Hyperaspis trifurcata Ladybird on cactus - Hyperaspis trifurcata

Moved
Moved from Hyperaspis.

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