Albino Ladybug Lays Eggs…On Me

by Joel Pomerantz

August 7th, 2018

All sorts of things happen, out exploring the city. This time what happened was yellow, squishy and nearly microscopic.

I’m deeply sorry I didn’t get a photo. The ladybug visitor was light brown and creamy white, similar to the one shown in the upper right of this stock photo. From what I find on the internet, this means it’s some sort of albino. But there’s a bit of a gap in the internet’s awareness of this topic, like so many that I have an interest in exploring.

When she landed on me, I was walking quickly homeward, about a mile remaining to my camera. I kept hoping the freeloader beautiful critter would stay passenging upon me until I got there. You see, the bug also had a second thing about it that appeared unusual: There was a tiny yellow blob on the side of it’s elytra (wing covering shell). I suspected it was an egg cluster, recently excreted.

It was my great luck that I hadn’t put contact lenses in. That would have made it hard to see such a small and close detail. It would have made it impossible. Even the type of bug might have been unclear to me with those magical devices upon my corneas. They prevent my looking closely, as great as they are for correcting my extreme vision. (I have severe near-sightedness, with -9.5 diopter contacts and -11.5 glasses.)

It turns out I chose well to wear glasses. By simply looking past the frame, scooted down my nose, I was able to employ my super power. High-detail close-up is my specialty—if I’ve left my contacts home. Back in college, when vinyl LPs were a thing, I was the one everybody brought their repair jobs to. I could see so well at two inches that a needle and a few seconds was all it took for me to reëstablish the proper grooves in a scratched Rubber Soul record—as good as new again.

After a few blocks, the ladybug settled into a cozy spot between two of my fingers. This gave me hope that it wasn’t angling to fly off. They usually climb to the highest point for that.

Just a few blocks left to go, and she seemed satisfied, patient, perhaps even a bit of a diva, awaiting the Klieg lights.

But then she crawled out into the open, took a few strides onto my thumb and began scraping the eggs from her back, side (not to be conflated with backside). She used her hind claw, rubbing until the blob had shifted onto my skin.

Since no photo, I thought the least I can do is provide you a look at the last Golden Gate Park bug that visited my hairy arm when I did have a camera.

At this point the translucent yellow mass was visibly separated into a few eggs, but even my fabled vision in direct sunlight was too weak to be able to count individual eggs. They were still in a tumbled heap on my skin—not a neat alignment of individual eggs attached on a leaf’s underside per the ladybug Rules of Standard Practice—when that infernal bug simply flew away, leaving me to care for her (attempted) progeny.

But I refused. With just four blocks left, I decided the eggs were better off in someone’s front yard succulents than in my apartment, striking poses for my camera. Without the perpetrator, it would have felt like a low attempt to catalog forensic evidence.

I suppose I could have sent a dog after her to head off her escape, but my vision’s not that bad. I’ve no dog.

Thus, I was left alone, in wonder. And then I remembered that I hadn’t used my explorer’s blog in a very long time.

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