milkweed beetle soap opera
This series of photos might be fun for your bug love page. I found these mating red milkweed beetles in a milkweed patch near my house in Danielsville, PA. A third milkweed beetle came along and climbed on the back of the bottom bug, pushing off the top bug. They then stood there headbutting for a couple minutes, and then all three went their separate ways. I guess you could call the third one a homewrecker. The “homewrecker” arrives and tries to push the top beetle back off the one on the bottom. There’s a standoff of sorts as the one on top from the couple refuses to back off for a few moments. But the “homewrecker” persists. The beetle on the top relents and backs off. The top beetle continues to back away from the new couple, just before the “homewrecker” decides to walk away too. … BTW, I love your site and use it all the time. I recently was able to identify a swamp milkweed leaf beetle and your site was also where I discovered the little reddish spider like creatures I had seen were wheel bug nymphs. Thanks!
We love your account of this sexual melodrama between Red Milkweed Beetles. We do wonder though why the victor decided to relinquish his conquest.