Walks on the Wild Side, Fall-Winter, 2008-9

November 5, 2008
West Fork of the San Gabriel River
Narrowleaf Milkweed and Associates

Section 2: Insects that feed directly on the milkweed plant

“An astonishing 457 different kinds of insects [are] found on milkweed plants” from The Milkweed Insects

Monarch caterpillar on narrowleaf milkweed. Top photo by Karen. Bottom photo by Graham.

Notice the tentacles and the bright warning coloration. The fleshy tentacles at the front and rear ends of Monarch larvae are not antennae, but they function as sense organs. The antennae are very small and are on the bottom of the larval head. Monarchs have an effective chemical defense to protect them from predation; when they eat milkweed, they sequester the poisonous cardiac glycosides in the milkweed ... Their bright colors also serve as a warning to predators that they contain these poisonous chemicals. Taken from the sources listed below.

More information:

Biology has anatomical drawings

Insect Spotlight: Milkweed attracts bright, showy insects that can be toxic

Monarch Facts

Orange aphids on milkweed. Top photo by Karen. Middle and bottom photos by Graham.

"There are at least four common species of aphids on milkweed, but the most frequently observed is the yellow milkweed aphid." from The Milkweed Insects

They might be this species Oleander aphid but I'm not sure

Small or common milkweed bug, Lygaeus kalmii. Photo by Graham.

More information:

Species Lygaeus kalmii – Small Milkweed Bug

This page also shows box elder bug and large milkweed bug and how to tell the difference between them.

Narrowleaf Milkweed and Associates

Section 1. The Plant Asclepias fascicularis, narrowleaf milkweed

Section 2. Insects that feed directly on the milkweed plant

Section 3. Insects that feed on the insects that feed on the milkweed

Section 4. Other insects we saw

“I do not seek. I find.” — Pablo Picasso

original pages created November 7, 2008
text on this page is Copyright © 2008-2021 Jane Strong.
images on this page attributed to Karen are Copyright © 2008-2021 Karen Isa.
images on this page attributed to Graham are Copyright © 2008-2021 Graham Bothwell.

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