Currently viewing the tag: "Milkweed Meadow"

Subject:  Monarch Emerges from Chrysalis
Geographic location of the bug: Elyria Canyon State Park, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 07/09/2021
Time: 8:51 AM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Readers,
Last week Daniel informed you that while hiking in Elyria Canyon Park as post-operative knee therapy, he found a Monarch Chrysalis and Caterpillar on native Aesclepias eriocarpa.  Every day or two Daniel had been hiking back to check out the progress and yesterday the chrysalis appeared noticeably darker.

Monarch Chrysalis Day 10

Then this morning at 7:45 AM, the much awaited moment of translucence and the pattern of the wings showing through the exoskeleton.  Daniel sat on the bench to text the images to a few folk and then he laid down in the shade and listened to the birds, and an hour later, he realized that though he had missed the actual eclosion, he was still able to experience the mystery of metamorphosis and to view the helplessness of the newly transformed adult Monarch whose wings had not yet hardened and it was not yet able to fly.

Monarch Chrysalis Day 11

Despite missing the actual eclosion, Daniel was still witness to the hatchling testing out its strange new proboscis and auxiliary mouthparts.

Eclosion one hour later

Daniel writes:  “This new imago, though helpless, was adapting to its new vision thanks to the transformation of the visual sensation through complex compound eyes.  For about a half an hour I watched the adult Monarch feeling the breeze and testing the use of its new muscles in preparation for its maiden flight.  When I got close to take an image it was obvious the creature sensed me and potential threat because it appeared to quiver and to cower.  Not wanting my presence to interfere in the success of the transformation, I left thinking I might check up on it later in the afternoon, and to collect the remains of the exuvia.  I did note that there were no blossoms on the milkweeds in the patch.  All the blossoms seem to have withered and I pondered how much more successful a first flight would be after a first meal of milkweed nectar.  As I started my hike this morning, on my way into the canyon I watched an adult Monarch taking nectar from the blossoms of a patch of geraniums, but I reacted too slowly to get an image with the magicphone.”

Close-up of newly eclosed Monarch


Subject:  Monarch Caterpillar and Chrysalis on Indian Milkweed
Geographic location of the bug: Elyria Canyon State Park, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 06/29/2021
Time: 8:30 AM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Readers,
As part of physical therapy rehabilitation for knee surgery, Daniel has begun hiking again, and this morning he was pleased to find first a Monarch Chrysalis and then a Monarch Caterpillar feeding on Kotolo or Indian or Wooley Milkweek,
Aesclepius eriocarpa, in Elyria Canyon State Park.

Monarch Caterpillar

Monarch Chrysalis

Subject:  Blue Milkweed Beetles
Geographic location of the bug: Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park, California
Date: 06/04/2021
Time: 9:25 AM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Readers,
Daniel was out hiking near the Getty Museam in a Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy park when he pointed out the Narrow-Leaf Milkweed that was just beginning to bloom to his hiking partners Naeemah and Sharon.  Some plants had numerous Blue Milkweed Beetles feeding on the leaves.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are obligate root feeders, and adults eat the leaves of larval host plants. Females are highly polyandrous, males engage in extended periods of post-copulatory mate guarding.”

Blue Milkweed Beetle

Milkweed is a very popular plant with many pollinating insects including butterflies, bees and wasps. so many years ago we created a Milkweed Meadow tag for the complex ecosystem that is associated with milkweed.

Blue Milkweed Beetle and Honey Bee

Update:  June 19, 2021  Mating Blue Milkweed Beetles
This weekend while hiking at the same location with Sharon and Melanie, Daniel spotted a solitary pair of mating Blue Milkweed Beetles.  He managed to get one image before the presumably male Blue Milkweed Beetle dropped to the ground.  Daniel felt somewhat guilty that his voyeurism led to coitus interruptus.

Mating Blue Milkweed Beetles


Subject:  Unidentified Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Near Houston Texas
Date: 07/06/2020
Time: 04:22 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My mom and I found this caterpillar among her milkweed plants. She raises monarch butterflies, but this one is new. Neither of us have ever seen this kind of caterpillar before.
It was found July 6th, 2020, at around 3:15 PM.
How you want your letter signed:  Kris Prodoehl

Queen Caterpillar

Dear Chris,
The Monarch is not the only Milkweed Butterfly in the genus
Danaus that is found in Texas.  We believe your caterpillar is that of the related Queen Butterfly, Danaus gilippus, which is pictured on BugGuide.  Queen Caterpillars look similar to Monarch Caterpillars, but they have an additional set of “tentacles” and you were quite astute to observe this difference.

Subject:  Red and black bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Alexandria, VA
Date: 08/08/2019
Time: 12:20 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, these guys have recently showed up.  They are black and red, and are all over my Milkweed
How you want your letter signed:  Nicole

Large Milkweed Bug Nymphs

Dear Nicole,
Many people plant milkweed because of Monarch Butterflies, but there are a host of insects that depend upon milkweed for survival, including these Large Milkweed Bug nymphs,
Oncopeltus fasciatus.  According to iNaturalist:  “Juvenile O. fasciatus require the seed of milkweed plants for development and growth. Adults can survive on other types of seeds such as: sunflower, watermelon, almond and cashew, as shown in lab populations. Nymphs live in large groups of about 20 individuals on the plant.”  Since they feed on the seeds and not on the plants, they will not damage the milkweed and there will be plenty of leaves for Monarch caterpillars to feed upon.

Immature Large Milkweed Bugs

Subject:  Pretty catterpillars
Geographic location of the bug:  CT
Date: 08/06/2019
Time: 06:39 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi! I love your site! You’ve been very helpful in the past and I’m hoping for another ID. I found these fellows on some milkweed in my yard. What can you tell me? Thanks.
How you want your letter signed:  Jenn

Milkweed Tussock Caterpillar

Dear Jenn,
Many folks are planting milkweed to attract Monarch Butterflies, but there are in fact numerous insects that depend upon milkweed, hence our Milkweed Meadow tag which includes documentation of many insects associated with the plant.  This is a gorgeous image of a Milkweed Tussock Caterpillar,
Euchaetes egle.  See BugGuide for more information on the Milkweed Tussock Caterpillar.