Did you identify the insects we found on common milkweed?
A. The beetles are red milkweed beetles, Tetraopes tetrophthalmus. They are a type of longhorned beetle.
The bright red and black adults are easy to spot. They make a squeaking sound if they are captured.
The larvae are not as easy to find. They feed on the roots of milkweed plants under the soil.
B. This is a Baltimore checkerspot butterfly. Do you see the orange tips on its antennae?
The caterpillars are orange and black as well.
The Baltimore checkerspot larvae do not feed on milkweeds. They eat other wildflowers, like hairy beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus), and English plantain (Plantago lanceolata).
Have you ever seen these insects?
There's always something going on on our rush milkweed plants.
We've been watching a chrysalis that's attached to one of the stems. Can you guess what kind of butterfly it belongs to?
This morning it had darkened up and the shape had changed.
Sure enough, a wrinkly butterfly emerged.
Can you recognize it now?
On a nearby plant, this female queen butterfly laid eggs for the next generation.
We'll have more to watch next week.
Did you guess the identities of the milkweed insects from last week? Let's check.
- 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.