I’m sticking with a beetle theme this week, it seems. My last post focused on the currently ubiquitous soldier beetle. This one spotlights the dogbane beetle.
Read more and see a face-to-face photo of this insect below…
The iridescent green dogbane beetle is so named because both the larvae and adults feed primarily (maybe exclusively?) on dogbane and milkweed plants. The larvae feed on the roots and the adults feed on the leaves. Since both dogbane and milkweed plants have the same bitter tasting milky sap, it seems an odd choice of food, but quite a few other insects (including monarch caterpillars) share the same narrow diet, so there must be something good about it.
Because of their relatively large size (about 1 cm in length) and their iridescent color, dogbane beetles are pretty easy to spot in prairies. For some reason, I usually seem to see and photograph them on plants other than dogbane or milkweed. Not sure what they’re doing on those other plants… Regardless, yesterday morning I saw a bunch on dogbane plants, where they belong, so I stopped to take some photos.