Bismarck Beetle

I haven’t done much photography lately (too much tennis and work!) but we recently made our annual Bismarck trip, which usually yields a few good shots. Along with many monarch butterfly caterpillars, this red milkweed beetle was hanging out in my mother’s milkweed garden. I didn’t quite get the depth of field I was looking for but I love the way the one antenna was hanging off the edge of the leaf, breaking up the negative space. By the way, did you know that the beetle’s antennae are primarily used for smell? Also, there are about 450,000 species of beetles, comprising about 40% of all known insects. That’s a lot of beetle biomass.

Beetle on Leaf, Bismarck, North Dakota
Red Milkweed Beetle on Leaf, Bismarck, North Dakota | Nikon D700 @ ISO 1600, 1/40 sec., Nikkor 105mm VR @ f/16

The red milkweed beetle lives primarily on the milkweed so that it can incorporate some of the plant’s toxins as a chemical defense, making it undesirable to predators. The bright coloring advertises, “Hey, I taste terrible.”

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One Response to “Bismarck Beetle”

  1. Marly

    Why is it that bright red in a beetle is a sign I taste bad, but bright red in a flower attracts lots of bees. Things that make ya go hmmmm….

    Love the shot!


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