Friday, July 25, 2014

Large Milkweed Bug

Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) are members of the order Hemiptera and therefore have a feeding tube called a rostrum or beak. These insects pierce their food source, inject an enzyme which dissolves the food into a liquid which can then be sucked back through the beak.  Milkweed Bugs do this to the seeds and leaves of the milkweed plant.  Because the milkweed bugs concentrate the bad tasting toxins of the milkweed in their bodies predators recognize the black/orange mimicry coloration of these ill tasting insects and prefer not to make them lunch.
The rostrum of this Large Milkweed Bug is tucked back against the underside of its thorax.

This Milkweed bug has pierced the leaf vein of a Common Milkweed and is filling up on the milky sap of the plant.
Milkweed bugs will also take advantage of other food sources such as this daylily.
"Variety is the spice of life"