Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Wrong Kind of Ladybird

I saw a report on BBC yesterday about ladybirds - specifically, Harmonia axyridis, or the Multi-Coloured Asian Ladybird, a foreign invader from the Continent with a voracious appetite which eats not only aphids, the staple diet of 50% of our native species, but also butterfly eggs. Learning this, I feel rather protective towards the pretty bug families who seek annual winter shelter in my window frames. I don't want them to starve to death. And I like our bright and fluttery friends; I don't want their babies to be eaten alive.

At the moment Harmonia axyridis is, like rabies and small breakfasts, restricted to the European mainland, and has yet to get across the Channel. The problem is that on a British diet it will grow to an enormous size, and rapidly become a predator of immeasurable danger. Attacking unprovoked, exuding toxic blood from it's joints when attacked, the fierce jaws can open up an armoured personnel carrier like a tin of baked beans, and once here it will obviously go for chocolate, burgers, chips, crisps, high-fat sausages, chicken nuggets and pork scratchings, washed down with Stella Artois and lashings of curry, and thus be transformed into UK Hooligan Hybrid Ladybird. Even Millwall fans will be scared.

You think this is far fetched ?

In fact, Alien Invasion is one of the many ways in which our current Mass Extinction Event is being brought about. Bye-bye Red Squirrel, chased off by the larger belligerent Grey Squirrel, introduced from America by the Victorians and replaced since then like Folk music replaced by Rock 'n' Roll. Bye-bye Freshwater Crayfish, replaced by the Chinese Mitten Crab, the scientific advice being to eat them before they take over our streams and rivers. Bye-bye Earth worm, responsible for the health of our soil, devoured by the New Zealand Flat worm on it's 2 year visit to the Old World, as it hangs around in Walkabout bars getting pissed and living in enormous shared houses full of 3rd hand furniture and badly-made bongs.

Our only hope is that the Multi-Coloured Asian Ladybird discovers Diamond White and Bhangra and puts all it's energy into customising it's Honda Civic...

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