Monarch Journey

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Milkweed Bug

imageThis is a large milkweed bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus,  one of the two common species of milkweed bugs in North America, the other being the small milkweed bug, Lygaeus kalmii. These bugs use the same orange and black warning colors that Monarch and Queen butterflies use. The markings on the O. fasciatus (photo #1) form a black band, whereas the markings on the L. kalmii form a red X. (not shown.. hope to get a photo this summer). These bugs have a tendency to cluster together which makes them seems bigger and transmits the warning to not eat. Large milkweed bugs have long rostrums which they pierce their food with. They inject enzymes that digest the food for them and then suck up the fluids! Yum!