Cork project aims to track Ireland's native ladybird population

Cork project aims to track Ireland's native ladybird population
Tadgh Crowley, Fermoy in Fota Wildlife Park Cork to launch a new Irish Ladybird Research Project android app called Irish Ladybird Survey. Pic: Darragh Kane

A UCC student has developed a new smartphone app to record sightings of ladybird insects in Ireland.

Fota Wildlife Park in partnership with University College Cork, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences is managing the Irish Ladybird Research Project which is run by research scholar Gill Weyman.

An Android app, calledIrish Ladybird Survey, has been developed by UCC student Liam Kelly. It makes it very simple to upload an image of a ladybird, it automatically records the location, thus eliminating that step.

Gill Weyman said: “The Harlequin, which originates in Asia, is a new ladybird species in Ireland which preys on the larvae of native ladybirds and outcompetes our native species in terms of diet and reproduction."

"It is now established in Cork City, but we need to know from this survey how far across the country it has spread, and we are especially interested in Dublin City and County where records are low. Ladybirds play such an important role in our environment - it’s important to understand where they are located and what they feed on.” 

The Irish Ladybird Research Project is a citizen science online project is part of research towards a PhD degree and involves a wider group of participants. These are Fota Wildlife Park; University College Cork; National Museums Northern Ireland (CEDAR); National Museum of Ireland; Dr Roy Anderson and The project is funded by the Irish Research Council and Fota Wildlife Park.

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