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Ladybugs Detected on Weather Radar

 

Image Credit: NWS San Diego

On June 4, 2019, a group of ladybugs (termed a bloom) traveling over Southern California grew so large it was picked up by weather radar at the National Weather Service in San Diego.

At first, the radar echo appeared to be an 80-mile wide band of precipitation. National Weather Service (NWS) staff confirmed it was no traditional cloud, but instead a cloud of ladybugs. The ladybugs were tracked traveling from the San Gabriel Mountains to San Diego County.

What questions do you have about ladybugs and animals that travel in groups? For example:

  • Why do ladybugs behave this way?
  • Why do ladybugs travel in groups?
  • How do that many ladybugs know to move at the same time?
  • Where did the ladybugs come from? Where are they going and why?
  • What can these ladybugs tell us about our environment?
  • What can this movement tell us about animal behavior?

How can we suggest answers to these questions by investigating certain patterns or cause-and-effect relationships related to the environment, seasons and animal behavior?

Resources

Twitter: NWS San Diego Original Tweet

LA Times: High-flying ladybug swarm shows up on National Weather Service radar

University of California: Convergent Lady Beetle

University of California: Annual Cycle of Migration

NGSS & Grade

3-LS2-1, LS2.D: Social Interactions and Group Behavior

3-ESS2-1, ESS2.D: Weather and Climate

MS-LS1-4, LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms

HS-LS2-8, LS2.D: Social Interactions and Group Behavior

Grade: 
3-5 ELM
6-8 MS
9-12 HS
Discipline: 
Life Science
Earth and Space Science