Subject: Fat orange juvenile(?) insect.
Location: Walnut Creek CA open space near pond.
February 29, 2016 7:06 pm
I found the group of orange insects with black spots near water last August, in the Walnut Creek Open Space, California. Later I found an earlier picture of a what must be a close relative of this bug in my files. I don’t know where I found it. That one does not have the spots.
I hope you can tell me what these critters are.
Signature: Dirk Muehlner
We wish you had not cropped your image. These sure look like Large Milkweed Bug nymphs, Oncopeltus fasciatus, based on this BugGuide image, and they do appear to be feeding on milkweed pods, but we would love to see more of the plant to try to identify the species of milkweed. The image you captured earlier is also a True Bug in the suborder Heteroptera, but from there the taxonomies diverge. The Large Milkweed Bugs are Seed Bugs in the family Lygaeidae and the other is a solitary Western Boxelder Bug nymph, Boisea rubrolineata, in the Scentless Plant Bug family Rhopalidae which you can verify on BugGuide.
Update: March 7, 2016
Thank you for identifying these Large Milkweed Bug larvae! You regretted that my image was cropped and I found a less cropped version, for what it’s worth.
Thanks again. I really appreciate your response to my query.
We are so excited to get an image that includes the narrow leaf milkweed seed pods and the leaf is also visible. Las Pilitas Nursery has more wonderful information on the California Narrow Leaf Milkweed, a critical plant in a vibrant ecosystem that we profile in Milkweed Meadow.