Monday, January 17, 2011

Malaysian Ladybird Survey.. An Ambition or just a Dream?

It has been almost two years since I wrote down the first post on the Malaysian Ladybird survey. This was the biggest and the hardest plan I always wanted to carry out. The objective of the survey is to identify the existance of our local ladybird species in the country, to record them down and make a documentary on them. This is crucial as to my opinion, there must be an attempt to be taken for saving our local species. I have tried to introduce this blog to the fellow members of the Malaysian Tarantula Society but so far there was no positive feedback. I realized it is extremely difficult to draw attentions from the public since not many have this biodiversity awareness. Nevertheless, I will not give up on this and hopefully through this blog will make people understand and help to nurture the awareness of caring our local ladybrid species in the soceity.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Potential Insectary Plant for Ladybirds?

In the picture on the left side, you can see a patch of goosegrasses (Eleusine indica) with flowers. It can be found almost any places around the world. In Malaysia, it is called 'rumput sambau'. This species is known for its notorious property in that it is an invasive species of weed in cultivated crops, lawns and golf courses. It thrives in disturbed areas with compacted soils in full sun. Both tillage and herbicides are used in its control. This low-growing grass is capable of setting seed even when closely mowed. Some populations have evolved resistance to certain herbicides, including glyphosphate. However, to me this weed is a potential insectary plant to attract a wide variety of ladybird species. This is due to the presence of ragi aphid or eleusine aphid (Hysteroneura setariae) (picture on the right) as this weed is the food plant for them. This is true after I conducted an experiment using the weeds intercopped with chilis whereby the weeds significantly attracted many different kinds of ladybird species within a period of time in response to the abundance of ragi aphid. It was an interesting finding but to further promote the efficient use of the weeds in cultivated crops, one needs to study the ladybirds' movement in and out of the crops for this type of intercropping system. So, now we have an insectary plant to attract ladybirds to our lawn. What are you waiting for guys?? Say no to pesticides and 3 hips for organic farming!


Cheeky Ladybirds....