Someone on the hike told us that they number of spots denote age which turns out to be a commonly repeated myth. The spots show their species, there are a lot of different kinds of ladybugs....both native to our shores and imported and they can vary in appearance but the number of spots is the best differentiator.
I've noticed before that when you hold a ladybug you often start to sniff a peculiar stink. Turns out that's a back-up plan for their scarlet wing covers which are already a warning sign to birds to let them know that they taste terrible. If they are hassled or stressed they will start "reflex bleeding" a substance from their knees that smells bad and tastes worse than their natural flavor. Crazy! Right?
There are also some species of ladybugs which lady fertile eggs and then lay a bunch of infertile eggs in among them to be food for the forthcoming children. What a strange but clever system. Motherhood is pretty vast and wild.
If you ever need a break from winter and come visit we'll take you to see the ladybugs where they cluster in the redwood groves. Its astounding and gorgeous....California is amazing.