Did you guess the identities of the milkweed insects from last week?  Let's check.

  1. The yellow-orange insects on the stem are aphids. More specifically, they are the oleander aphid, Aphis nerii.  Hint:  Aphids are the ones with two "tailpipes" or cornicles on the back.

2. The red and black one insect might be hard to tell from this angle, but it is a true bug. A little one with two white dots in the wing is a small milkweed bug, Lygaeus kalmii.

3. This one was tough because the photograph isn't very close. It is an assassin bug, Zelus renardii. It is probably waiting for a bee or fly to capture.

4. I think everyone recognized the praying mantis. In this case, it is the Mediterranean mantis,  Iris oratoria. (See previous post).

5. This one is tricky. Cirrelda correctly recognized it is a lady beetle.

6.  The pale green oval at the end of the hairlike stalk is the egg of a lacewing. (Life cycle in previous post).

7. The cute striped caterpillar will turn into a monarch butterfly.

At this time of year, the butterfly will probably migrate farther north to lay its eggs on another milkweed plant.

We're glad it stopped by.


The rush milkweed (also called desert milkweed) plants are in bloom.

Turns out the buds, flowers, and seed pods are a bounty of food for insects.

If you have been following Bug of the Week, you can probably recognize some of the seven insects that I found on the rush milkweed today.

  1. What are the  yellow-orange insects?

2. How about this red and black one?

3. What is this insect? What do you think it's waiting for?

4. Here's another waiting insect. What is it?

5. This one is tricky. What do you think it is?

6. This is another tough one. We've already looked at the yellow orange insects. So, what is the pale green oval at the end of the hairlike stalk?

7. Finally, who is this striped cutie?

Milkweeds are home to some interesting insects. Do you have any milkweeds growing nearby?

Edit:  The answers are now posted.

If you are going to be teaching a class or doing an art project and you need images of insects or spiders, check out Insects Unlocked. Their goal is to supply high quality public domain insect photographs for anyone who needs to use them.

Examples downloaded from their Flickr photostream:

How about an image that shows the diversity of beetles?

assorted-beetlesBeetles come in such as range of sizes, shapes, and colors.

public-domain-green-june-beetleHere's a green June beetle. I love how this photographer used a human finger for scale. It really brings you into the photograph.

glowworm-beetle-maleWait, that's a beetle? Yes, it is the face-on view of a male glowworm beetle in flight. Its antennae look like curly fringe, don't they?

I also like how the credits are included with the image. Its always a good idea to make sure the source and/or photographer gets credit even with public domain images. This site makes it easy to do.

If you use one of their images in a project, feel free to leave us a comment telling us about it. We'd like some ideas about how they are being used.