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.
Remember we had adult monarch butterflies flying last week?
Well, look what they left behind.
Wait, what's that?
Hungry, hungry monarch caterpillars is what they left.
We've noticed the caterpillars usually feed on the flower buds rather than other parts of the rush milkweed.
Photograph taken 10/11/2016.
See a previous post for more about caterpillars found on rush milkweed plants.
This week we had two caterpillars on our rush milkweeds.
At first glance they look quite similar.
Both have bands of color and filaments (also called tubercles) that look like antennae.
Looking more closely, it is apparent that this caterpillar has two pairs of filaments, one pair in front and one pair in back. In addition, its bands of color are unbroken.
This caterpillar has three pairs of filaments and some of the dark bands have droplets of yellow in them.
Do you know what species of caterpillars these are?
Note on the filaments (tubercles): These threadlike projections are often mistaken for antennae. Caterpillars do have antennae, but they are only tiny bumps on the front of the head near the mandibles. The filaments vary in length and are occasionally missing.
Caterpillars like these can move their filaments, sometimes in a jerky motion.
Answers: The caterpillar in the first and third photographs will turn into one of these. The caterpillar in the second and fourth photographs is one of these.