MILKWEED MEADOW: Mating Walkingsticks and Mating Milkweed Beetles and Milkweed Tussock Caterpillars

Bug Love at Shenandoah
Location:  Shenandoah National Park, VA
August 17, 2010 9:43 pm
Hi, Daniel, My grandson and I just spent a long weekend camping at Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains of west-central VA, a nice change from the heat and humidity of the VA Peninsula. We found tons of good bugs and are sending a sample. The first is of milkweed beetles mating on, what else?, milkweed growing right outside the visitor center at Big Meadow in the Park. The second is from the Meadow and was a great find – walking sticks!! We also found 2 rhinoceros beetles but couldn’t get in close enough for a good shot. Enjoy!
Kathy Haines

Mating Walkingsticks

Hi Kathy,
We just received your numerous emails with multiple attached photographs, and we want to post one image before hurrying out to work.  The Walkingsticks appear to be Northern Walkingsticks,
Diapheromera femorata, which can be verified on BugGuide.  Please in the future do not send multiple unrelated species in a single email because it complicates our system of archiving letters.

Daniel, thanks, and I’m so sorry – I’m so impressed with the work you do on what we send in that the last thing I’d want to do is mess it up.  My apologies, and thanks for letting me know.
Kathy Haines

PLease don’t take our comment the wrong way.  It will just be so difficult for us to choose from among your other great photos.  We may just try posting one email with multiple categories.  Your Large Milkweed Bug photo of
Oncopeltus fasciatus is a great continuation of the thriving ecosystem surrounding the Milkweed Meadow.  More information on the Large Milkweed Bug, which is not a beetle, may be located on BugGuide.

Mating Large Milkweed Bugs

Shenandoah, Part II
Location:  Shenandoah National Park, VA
August 17, 2010 9:47 pm
Here are a couple more from the Shenandoah NP camping trip. I think we have milkweed tussock caterpillars, maybe a type of armyworm caterpillar?, and a daddy longlegs. We’re bypassing the many monarchs, eastern tiger swallowtails (our state insect), and what we think is a hickory tussock moth but will send one more with a gorgeous green sphinx (we think).
Kathy Haines

Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars

Hi again Kathy,
This photo of the Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars or Milkweed Tiger Moth Caterpillars,
Euchaetes egle, supports the description of the life cycle on BugGuide which states:  “Larvae feed on milkweed, Asclepias species. Adults sometimes found on hostplant during day (1). Females lay eggs in “rafts” and caterpillars are gregarious during instars 1-3, solitary in later instars, when marked with bright tufts. May defoliate patches of milkweed.”  We are adding this image to your previous letter and building the Milkweed Meadow feature.

Ethan (my grandson) and I are honored.  This is so cool!  I can’t wait for him to see the post – he’s going to love it.
Thanks, Daniel – I can’t stop smiling.
Kathy Haines

What’s That Bug on the Tomato PLant???
Could that be a new book title?  The Milkweed Meadow or Goldenrod Forest would be much more fascinating books.  Or, I could just stay close to home and write Black Mustard and the Camino Real and its thriving Spider and Insect population in Elyria Canyon.

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