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Dogbane Beetle- A Natural History

Friends, a friend (thanks Kathy) pointed out this very colorful beetle to me.  It is a dogbane beetle and eats leaves from Dogbane and Milkweed of which we have plenty in Crex.  Probably the most noticeable characteristic of this tiny bug is the iridescent glow of color caused by small scales stacked at different angles on top of pigment.  The circled areas show the scales as dark dots in lighter circles.  One area will have focused scales while an adjacent area will be out of focus.  The light bounces around and give the iridescence.  These beetles are harmless to agricultural crops in that they only eat the leaves of milkweed and dogbane.

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