South Australia

In pictures: millions of ladybirds swarm radio tower in SA

Wildlife

There have always been an unusual number of ladybirds in Mount Burr, South Australia according to photographer Steve Chapple, but nothing like the sight he stumbled upon recently. Ladybirds are currently swarming a local radio tower in the millions, confounding experts and stunning onlookers who are now flocking to see the phenomenon. They’re four inches deep and the base of the tower is about five metres by five metres, so you’d have to talk in the millions,” Steve told the ABC. So what are they doing? Research entomologist Adam Slipinski, a renowned expert in ladybirds, told Australian Geographic that it’s common for ladybirds to migrate towards prominent landscape features and disperse after a period of time. They do not feed and one of the potential factors of their quiescent period is probably sudden food shortage but changes in humidity, day length and other environmental factors have been listed as potential stimulants. In the northern hemisphere they often form winter aggregations, and these happen here as well, but I think these occurring right now are of different nature and beetles will disperse into more cryptic niches before winter snaps. See the images below.