Orange and black Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetles are part of a varied group of insects that live on, and eat off of a common staple plant: milkweed.
Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetles look somewhat like Lady Beetles, but they are in a different family. This beetle feeds preferably from the juices inside the leaves of the swamp milkweed plant though other types of milkweed are adequate food sources in its absence. Adults and their snail-like larva cut slits into the veins of leaves and drink the fluid that leaks out. Many species of butterflies and other insects live and die by this favored perennial. Despite siphoning nutrients from the plant, there is usually no real harm done because only a few of this beetle are on at one time.
Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetles can be found in marshes, bogs, swamps, and other wet habitats. They do well in more developed areas, too, like backyards, roadsides, and parks that grow milkweed. Adults overwinter in leaf litter and orange tubular eggs are laid on the underside of milkweed leaves in the spring. Flying adults are active from spring through summer.
Scientific Name: Labidomera clivicollis
Size (Adult; Length): 9mm to 11mm (0.35in to 0.43in)
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Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.