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Newborn Milkweed Tussock Moth Larvae A Bonanza For Predatory Stink Bugs

8-7-17 milkweed tussock moth larvae, first instar and (3) (003)Monarch larvae aren’t the only insects equipped to feed on the toxic cardiac glycoside-filled leaves of milkweed. Milkweed Tussock Moth larvae also dine on them, avoiding veins due to the latex-like, sticky white sap that could glue them in place. When they first hatch, Milkweed Tussock Moth larvae tend to stick together in “herds,” all feeding on the underside of the same leaf. This behavior provides a gold mine for predators such as predatory stink bugs (pictured) that discover them. Unlike their (plant) sap-sucking stink bug relatives, predatory stink bugs feed on more than 100 species of insect pests, often attacking insects much larger than themselves, drinking their body fluids with their needle-like beak. (Photo taken and kindly donated by Chris Doyle)

 

 

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4 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    Very interesting photo!

    August 7, 2017 at 8:12 am

  2. Kathie Fiveash

    Mary, is there anything that preys on monarch caterpillars? I have had many monarchs laying eggs on my milkweed for several weeks, but I am seeing only a few little caterpillars. There are quite a few small holes in the leaves that look like monarch starting places, but somehow the little caterpillars do not seem to be growing up.

    August 7, 2017 at 9:04 am

    • Yes, I’ve seen an assassin bug with one…and undoubtedly there are other predators that can tolerate the glycosides. Just not sure of who they are, and short on time to research it. Sorry!!!

      August 7, 2017 at 2:23 pm

  3. Pat

    Great capture from Chris.

    August 7, 2017 at 11:05 am

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