Milkweed bugs

I went back this week to the location where I found the blue lobelia, and found it flowering still. My next stop was going to be a nearby field with hundreds of common milkweed pods, when I noticed another milkweed species, Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata, covered with milkweed bugs:

These are nymphs of Large Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus). Every pod on this milkweed plant had anywhere from two to 15 nymphs, quite a sight, so much so that I didn’t make it to the common milkweed field. This location is one I go to for Bronze Copper, a beautiful and somewhat rare butterfly (in my area at least), but I haven’t seen one yet this year.

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10 thoughts on “Milkweed bugs

  1. Please forgive the typos. I was distracted and didn’t realize… Notes should be nymphs, and All should be An.
    I’m sure there’s a way to edit my own comments on others posts, but I couldn’t remember how.

  2. What a neat sight. I rarely see groups of these, but just once I saw a collection in every size — multi-generational living, milkweed bug style. The colors are so pleasing. It’s interesting how many creatures roaming these flowers mimic the colors of the monarchs.

    • There are a number of red or orange colored insects that feed on milkweed, all unpalatable to predators. Small and large milkweed bugs, two milkweed beetles, and the Monarch, all with what’s called aposematic coloration. Dogbane beetle is another, dogbane has the same compound as milkweed, I believe, a latex sap with a glycoside toxin. Dogbane beetle is multicolored unlike the others.

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