Milkweed bugs are bright red for a reason; it's a warning to anyone who might be thinking about eating one. Like monarch butterflies, milkweed bugs become poisonous from eating milkweed. A bird that eats a milkweed bug and gets sick will remember the bright colors and avoid them in the future. The strategy is called aposematic coloration.
|Even among bright red bugs this one stands out. It has just molted its skin; the remnants are still attached to its tail end. Newly emerged insects are lighter-colored than usual and somewhat soft.
|The newly emerged bug will soon darken, harden, lose that bit of old skin, and then get back to the business of eating milkweed. Mmmm... milkweed! Click on the photo to enlarge.