Published: Monday 26 December 2011
“A benevolent and delightful creature, it’s beloved by everyone from children to farmers.”

Great news, people! A colony of nine-spotted ladybugs has been discovered in Amagansett, New York.

This uplifting story is a rich organic mixture of state pride and nature's resilience, along with America's scientific pluck, teamwork, serendipity, and bug love. In today's hard times, we need this.

Let's start with the bug. This ladybug is the classic Coccinellidae beetle, with exactly nine black spots on its red back.

A benevolent and delightful creature, it's beloved by everyone from children to farmers — so beloved that it became New York State's official insect. Sadly (and somewhat embarrassingly), however, this critter had vanished entirely from the state that honored it, with the last recorded sighting in New York 29 years ago. Apparently a victim of competition from imported Asian and European ladybug species, as well as pesticides and habitat loss, only 90 of the native nine-spotteds have been seen in all of North America in the past decade.

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