Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) grows across Wisconsin. These native plants ooze a toxic sticky milk that bestows the milkweed its name. The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) evolved with immunity to the plant’s poison; in fact, monarch caterpillars and butterflies need the milkweed plant to survive.
Also immune the plant’s poison are milkweed bugs, which feed on seed pods that develop in late summer–early autumn. Shown here are large milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) feasting on pods in Forest Beach Migratory Preserve in Port Washington. Also shown is a milkweed pod the bugs have already decimated.
Common milkweeds and large milkweed bugs, by Left Coast Creative (© 2017 Elizabeth G Fagan) for the blog Lake Michigan’s Left Coast