Friday, September 25, 2009

Upside Down World

Today's bugs have been upside down...
Milkweed bugs are a fall treat with their orange and black backs. (Also perfect for finding shapes in nature, which my kindergartners were doing today.) They do not seem to enjoy being
photographed, and would circumnavigate the plant to be on the opposite side as my camera at all times.

These are the baby milkweed bugs. The eggs are laid and hatched in a crack in the pod, which you can see in the bottom left of the picture. They go through five instars before the adults emerge from the final molt, looking like the fellows above. (Or possibly ladies. You can actually tell the sex of them by the patterns on the underside of their bodies... but I didn't check.) These are early instars -- you can hardly see wings. They mature fast; it is the adults that overwinter. Their whole lifespan is only a month (and a female can lay thousands of eggs in that time!) Like monarchs, they become poisonous by eating the milkweed sap, which is also poison.

What praying mantises have made it this far seem to have turned brown.


  1. Always very interesting what you find to post about.

  2. Well, the kids find a lot of the animals... I just try to remember to carry a camera!