What Is It?

By MDC | September 1, 2021
From Xplor: September/October 2021
  • I may look like a jewel on a leaf.
  • But my colors tell stalkers to stop.
  • If they won’t go away, I’ll shoot stink in their face.
  • And then into the grass I will drop.

The dogbane leaf beetle sure is pretty, but its ever-changing rainbow of colors is a warning: Don’t get too close. It can shoot streams of stinky goo into the faces of would-be bugmunchers, giving it time to drop safely to the ground. Where does the beetle get its chemical superpower? From the plant it’s named after. Dogbane sap is toxic to most critters, but the beetle eats it without harm. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/field-guide.

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This Issue's Staff

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Alexis (AJ) Joyce
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White