- Monarch Butterfly caterpillars only eat Milkweeds.
- Milkweed plants produce toxic chemicals and that the Monarch caterpillars can ingest those chemical without harm.
- The caterpillar stores those chemicals in its body, becoming toxic (and bad tasting).
- These chemicals stay in the Monarch throughout its life cycle.
- The orange and black coloring of the adult Monarch is a warning to predators that the Monarch is toxic and tastes bad. This use of warning colors is known as aposematic coloration.
Like the the Monarch Butterfly they can consume Milkweeds without suffering any ill effects and store those chemicals in their bodies - using them as a chemical defense against predators. Also like the Monarch Butterfly both beetle species display aposematic coloration to advertise their chemical defenses. Both species are orange(or red) and black.
|Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) on Common Milkweed|
|Milkweed Leaf Beetle (Labidomera clivicollis) on Common Milkweed|