Tag Archives: bug of the week

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.

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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.

Insect common names are sometimes misleading.

yellow-bodied-whitefly-11

Take this tiny whitefly, for example. It isn't really a fly (not family Diptera). Instead it belongs to the same family as aphids and scale insects.

It also isn't really white.

whitefly-side(A one-sixteenth-inch long Silverleaf whitefly, Bemisia argentifolii. Photo by Scott Bauer, USDA-ARS)

If you could see under a microscope for a view like this, you would notice the body of the whitefly is actually yellow, almost the same color as the petal of the desert marigold flower the one at the top is sitting on.

Where does the whitefly get its name? Its body and wings are covered with a powdery coating of white wax particles. The wax probably helps protect it from water and predators.

Now you know more about whiteflies, what would you have named them?