Small milkweed bug emerging from exoskeleton. Each stage (instar) has wings proportionally longer than those of the previous stage. The wings, legs and antennae will darken and the exoskeleton will harden shortly after each molt. Click image to magnify.
Small milkweed bugs first become apparent during the spring and produce several generations of young during spring, summer and fall. This is one of the few species in which you can find the eggs, nymphs and mating adults on the same plant throughout much of the year.
Their bright coloration warns predators of their bad taste, which is influenced directly by their host plant. Those feeding on milkweed taste bad. Often they will advertise their bad taste in a group, with young from a single clutch of eggs remaining together until they mature.