Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle: BBP Species #1



Ah, were you expecting a orange and black beetle?  While I have seen the adult of this species a few times in our backyard, last night was the first time I saw its larva.  As you can see, this slimy looking creature was actively eating the margin of a common milkweed leaf.  I knew it must be one of the few insects that specializes on milkweed.  My first guess that it might be the larva of a milkweed beetle, but after doing a little research, I believe this is the larvae of the swamp milkweed leaf beetle, Labidoderma clivicollis.  It looks quite different from the adult!  Looking at it in this photo, I really should have touched the beetle- it appears to be wet- is the shiny body sticky?  Slippery?  Hard?  Gooey? I try not to disturb the animals I photograph, but in this case, I wish I would have explored more.

While I've photographed countless numbers of species in our backyard, now that I have started the backyard biodiversity project (let's use BBP for short), I'm going to reset and start from zero.  This is backyard biodiversity project species #1.

-Tom

5 comments:

  1. This sounds like quite a project! Have fun!

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  2. Something I would like to do.

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  3. Tom: It looks like if you had touched it, it would have burst!

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