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Showing posts from October, 2009

Asian Lady Beetle - An Invasion!

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Harmonia axyridis There are around 18 species of ladybird beetles in Ontario, all of which feed on aphids and mealy bugs. However, Harmonia axyridis was considered very effective in eradicating the pest problems associated with crops such as soya. Hence it was introduced into USA and thus entered Canada. Here is an account entailing general information and observations on this beetle.  Asian Lady Beetle is a beautiful ladybird native to eastern Asia. It is easily identified by the “M” or “W” mark – whichever way you see it, on the pronotum (just behind the head). It lives for one to three years, depending on the availability of food and surviving winter several times. When disturbed – or handled – it produces an odor to deter predators, the smell is however insignificant and can be easily washed away. They are gentle and do not bite to humans, but some people are allergic to this beetle.

It was first introduced in USA in the year 1916 to control the pest population of aphids, and after c…

Eastern Gray Squirrel

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Sciurus carolinensis
A common mammal of the neighborhood in Canada, it is seen scurrying on parapets and on top of houses, on pine trees and maples. I spent a pleasant time photographing and video-shooting these squirrels.Here is one of her stance where she curiously and slyly gave me a glance. It is a squirrel native to Eastern and Midwestern USA and southerly Canada. It was introduced in UK and has largely displaced the native Red Squirrel (S. vulgaris). The Gray Squirrel shares its distribution with Fox Squirrel, which is often confused to be a Gray Squirrel. - WikipediaFrom my observations, I found these squirrels fairly common in Mississauga – a suburb of Toronto, and came across several but rather uncommon melanistic forms. The melanistic forms were more conspicuous compared to the common, ordinary squirrels. I also found them to be timid as compared to the latter.On a contrary, in London ON, I saw a healthy population of the melanistic Eastern Gray Squirrels, about three individ…