Barely visible Myzocallis asclepiadis aphids in various life-stages

cling to the bottoms of milkweed leaves that I glean to clean

and feed to the season’s last monarch caterpillars.

All summer these underleaf-feeding aphids have been dropping what ecologist Anurag Agrawal calls “honeydew” excrement for ants and maybe others to eat on the leaftops below (a process just beyond the discretion & ability of this camera — so we’ll take his word for it).

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One

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more

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monarch

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headed

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in due time

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for

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Mexico

 

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Sown here last year for the monarch and her brood
milkweed has grown to host a new visitor —
like this banded net-winged beetle
(calopteron discrepans, I think) —
on nearly every leaf turned

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