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Orange Milkweed with Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle
21.5 in(70 cm x 55 cm)
Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetles (Labidomera clivicollis) eat juices from leaves of the milkweed plant by cutting slits in the veins of leaves and drinking the juice that leaks out. Milkweed is poisonous, but some insect milkweed grazers have developed an adaptation that keeps them safe from the toxins. I love their shiny Halloween-colored carapaces, which have a dimpled pattern in them. Their colors are aposematic, which means that they serve to warn or repel predators that they are dangerous food.