Saturday, October 2, 2010
After the Oil Beetles, Ryn, in her continued attempts to educate me about local flora and fauna - I try , but I can't tell the difference between lavender and a birch tree - pointed out an infestation of insects on a group of common milkweed plants.
These awesome looking orange and black bugs are Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus). Most of the immature ones were smaller than the Oil Beetles, and to my untrained eye there appeared to be a couple of different generations of the insects in this shot. In the lower right you see a mature one with the horizontal band, the mid sized juveniles with the black dorsal patches, and a little tiny nymph near the centre.
The orange/black warning colours, and the fact that they ingest the toxic white latex from the plants, make these True Bugs to be avoided as a party snack mix by most people other than Bear Grylles. There were quite a few of these groupings on the milkweed follicles, but with it being breezy and top heavy milkweed plants not being the most stable of platforms, this was the sharpest cluster. Cool, eh?
Posted by Mike Wood at 07:09