Posts Tagged ‘common milkweed’

Wonders Never Cease

 Common Milkweed

Four common milkweed plants grow beside the back garage (which will be torn down this summer).

A few insects visit the flowers,

and a white crab spider hides on the underneath side of one of the leaves. The spider can change colors to match the color of the flower it’s on.

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Large Milkweed Bugs

You know it’s not been a good butterfly year

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if only 4 or 5 of them visit the butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa).

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I went outside in the afternoon and found four milkweed bugs on my small patch of the butterfly weed.

I took all these pictures between August 20 and September 18 last summer … and  am obviously late posting the blog. I’ll be surprised if I see any monarchs laying eggs or find any of their caterpillars.

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These young ones were the nymphs of large milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus). The dark spot in the upper right side of the seedpod was a hole where the nymphs entered to feed.

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The nymphs fed on the insides of the seeds in the seedpods.  Their size and pattern differentiated the ages.

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Lunch time. There were three seedpods on the common milkweed plant (Asclepias sryiaca).

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They continued growing. Then I went out one afternoon, and there was one that had just molted.

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I went out every fifteen minutes to watch the progress in this and the following two pictures. The faint wing colors surprised me.

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The wings continued to slowly darken. Notice how it used a hind leg to hold the wing in place as it dried.

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The wing still wasn’t quite dry.

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The few remaining milkweed bugs were gone in two or three days.

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The common milkweed is a perennial. This common milkweed is the same one as in the pictures above. Obviously, there have been no insect visitors so far this summer.

Tussock Moth Caterpillars and a Moth

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It’s obvious this caterpillar is called a tussock moth caterpillar.

(Euchaetes egle)

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A common milkweed grows beside an old garage on the north side of our yard. There were caterpillars scattered around the plant. They were on top of the leaves

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and on the underneath side too. The milky sap from the plant makes them toxic to predators, the same as it does for the monarch butterfly caterpillar.

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It also makes the moth toxic too. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to see this milkweed tussock moth (Euchaetes egle). It didn’t cooperate for me to change the camera setting for a better picture. The orange of its body is usually darker than it looks in the picture.

The Gathering

 Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweeds, like the common milkweed below.

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Daddy longlegs gathered on it this morning.

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Another one stayed near the buds at the top of the plant.

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I wonder if they each staked out a territory and are ready for the flowers to bloom and the insects to come?

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This one didn’t like the attention and quickly backed to the underside the leaf.