I know, another ladybird shot and yes that is a male back there, counting the spots on the female's back. But this was just too good to throw away into the filing cabinet never to be seen again, because this is no ordinary 'bonking ladybird and munching aphids at the same time' photograph. In fact I was thinking the same as you when I took the shots - huh, boring!
It wasn't until I got back to the lab that I realized what was actually going on. Those are not hatching aphids, they are in fact hatching ladybird bugs that the orange monster was munching her way through, the irony being that the male was at the back end, pushing more out. No wonder he has been hard at it for two days, if the bitch was consuming all his consummations!
In fact, she didn't eat the hatchlings, she was just sucking up the juice out of the un-hatched eggs. She actually picked up a grub at one stage and moved it out of the way (minus one leg) or so it seemed in the photos, maybe junior just had a lucky escape.
In the blip, she has just popped a blob of green slime from the egg, leaving the rather deflated casing behind. Next to her right elbow, you will see a partially hatched grub, frantically trying to beat the clock.
Unfortunately, this is one of those blips that you really need to go large on, or you may not see what is going on. I am hoping that you take the time and have a look at the rest of the set. Just click the short cut, the slideshow of six images is all set up for one click, no searching around.
A bit of research revealed that ladybirds are well known for cannibalism. One document stated that it happens in the absence of aphids, its normal diet. Well, the plant was caked in aphids not two inches away, so that doesn't quite fit, but it was a good read and very informative.
I thought about building a combo shot, but the loss of scale and added complexity would have spoiled the impact of the blip. So, now that you know the full story, I am sure you will agree that it had to be blipped and forgive me for the duplication.
- Nikon D7000