Monday, September 20, 2021

Scenes from an Evening Walk

Here's a few pics from yesterday's evening walk.

Fall is coming!

Where there's milkweed, there are milkweed bugs. I love that these critters opt for an unintuitive defense mechanism: have overtly colorful markings and consume a steady diet of milkweed. Milkweed is toxic to most animals, and therefore, so are the milkweed bugs who harbor the poison. Over time, animals that may feed on milkweed bugs have learned to read the colorful markings as a warning sign and avoid them. Monarch butterflies, who also feed on milkweed, use the same tactic.

And just when I thought I'd read it all about Oncopeltus fasciatus, milkweed bugs, I found dvoribird's account of raising them.

It was an Oncopeltus fasciatus named Angel who started my bugsession and caused me to fall in love with milkweed bugs with other insects to follow. Angel (mature adult male with mate) came home with me on a milkweed plant purchased at a local nursery on October 22, 2017. I overwintered him, his wife, and a few additions, and he lived until May 2, 2018, a nice long milkweed bug life.

Raising bugs? Of course that's a thing. Dvoribird's description is part science fair project, part field journal and part pet blog. What a delightful and clever way to both learn about another species and develop a deep love of all living things.

I thought I was capturing pictures of a ladybug. Now I'm not so sure. Perhaps I can convince Shira to go back and let me raise him/her? Pretty sure that's going to be a hard no.

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