June 22nd, 2010

breeden

Well, At Least Somebody’s Enjoying The Milkweed…

We be chillin'

This handsome little fellow is a Swamp Milkweed Beetle, Labidomera clivicollis. (Photo taken with iPhone, hence lack of stylish macro-photography.)

Despite my best efforts with Google, I can’t find that anything eats him or his offspring–apparently the milkweed sap makes them taste bad. (Black and orange are apparently the colors for the Milkweed Gang, a motley crew of various species united in their foulness and their love of the weed. I knew people like that in college, but it was a different weed, and they mostly wore flannel. It was the 90’s.)

I am somewhat puzzled by a native bug that nothing else eats. I can only assume that they perish in various foolish accidents–motorcycling without their helmets, refusal to wear seatbelts and lifejackets and so forth, until the survivors gather in tiny milkweed beetle nursing homes and eventually expire of old age.

No monarch caterpillars have put on an appearance, and there’s all of one beetle, so I’m glad SOMEBODY is enjoying the milkweed, and better him than milkweed aphids.

Originally published at Squash's Garden. You can comment here or there.