LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) —Thousands of so-called “citizen scientists” are helping researchers at Cornell University find a rare nine-spotted ladybug that hasn’t been seen since the 1950s.

Scientists at the elite school created the “Lost Ladybug Project” after they realized some types of lady beetles weren’t being found anymore.

Lila Higgins, who manages the project’s participants at the Natural History Museum of LA County, said the nine-spotted ladybug is the main ladybird entomologists want to get their hands on.

“We needed help and we couldn’t send out hundreds and hundreds of scientists all over the country… all over Los Angeles…so we wanted to enlist people who live here,” she said.

How does the search work? Residents are asked to find and collect ladybugs, take a picture, and upload the images and other information to the Lost Ladybug Project’s website.

So far, contributors have submitted nearly 20,000 pictures.

10-year-old Grace Rhodes of Claremont is among the many citizens involved with the project.

“I think a lot more people should know about the project. Not only is it good if they do find the special ladybug, but it brings family and friends together,” said Rhodes.

Students at Niemes Elementary School of Environmental Science and Technology in Artesia hunt for ladybugs with their teacher, John Zawaski.

“Being part of looking for a missing species is an opportunity that most people don’t get. Being able to look for something that can help science in the future…. we’re not just looking for the lost ladybug, we’re also learning about what we have here,” Zawaski said.


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