I passed these bugs today on some milkweed and wondered what they were named and what they were doing. Turns out they are Red Milkweed Bugs (that makes sense!) and they were probably eating. They aren’t “good” garden bugs.
I’ve been loving the red fall leaves and know why leaves turn red, but I wondered why bugs were red. I have watched enough Planet Earth to know the flashy colors in animals, particularly birds can help with mating. But why be red if you are on milkweed? Google research leads me to believes that these bugs may be red for the same reason ladybugs are red. Red isn’t just for alarms, traffic lights and firetrucks, but is often also nature’s way of signaling danger. Predators eat something red that tastes horrible (apparently Monarch butterflies and ladybugs fit this category) and then hopefully connect the color to taste and avoid the rest of the species.
They skip over a lot (most obvious the fox, red panda and cardinals), but here are some other red animals, most are creepy, but skip down to the scarlet ibis who (like flamingos) turns red from his diet and is very cool looking. The text is also full of puns if you are into that eye rolling sort of humor (I tend to be).
(By the way, we pulled a tick off my daughter this week if anyone thought we are in the clear on tick season, keep checking!)