Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle (Labidomera clivicollis)
Many insects depend on specific plant species for their survival. For example, the larvae of monarch butterflies feed only on toxic milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) and cannot grow as caterpillars on any other plants. Milkweeds are not just important to monarchs; flies, true bugs, and beetles have also evolved the special ability to feed on milkweeds. Like monarchs, most of them are very brightly colored to warn predators of the toxic milkweed compounds that stored in their bodies as a defense. This is a lesser known insect that feeds on milkweeds, the milkweed leaf beetle (Labidomera clivicollis) which can be found feeding on milkweeds across Eastern North America. Restoring habitats with populations of milkweeds can help not only monarchs, but also a wide range of other beautiful insects.