Lady beetle associated with cochineal - Hyperaspis trifurcata
Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton, Orange County, California, USA December 15, 2009
Larvae of this coccinellid beetle feeds on cochineal insects. In doing so, the larvae appropriate the scale insect's defensive chemical, which is carminic acid. Then, when disturbed, the beetle discharges the acid with drops of its blood, and the resulting compound keeps ants at bay.
Contributed by Ron Hemberger on 15 December, 2009 - 9:03pm Last updated 30 June, 2014 - 7:54am
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