Halloween Colors in Nature

Milkweed bugs, Sept 2021 (photo by Kate St. John)

31 October 2021

Some things are naturally black and orange like Halloween, often because they are poisonous. This is especially true for milkweed bugs (above) and monarch butterflies (below). The colors say “Notice me and stay away.”

Monarch butterfly on swamp milkweed, July 2014 (photo by Steve Gosser)

Red admiral butterflies are orange-red and dark brown, almost black. Their host plant is nettle. Are they poisonous?

Red admiral, Germany (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Jack-o-lantern mushrooms (Omphalotus olearius) are well named for their color. Did you know the gills of these mushrooms glow green in the dark? Unfortunately it’s never dark enough to see this in Schenley Park where I found the mushrooms in late September.

Jack-o-lantern mushrooms in Schenley Park, 25 Sep 2021 (photo by Kate St. John)

Pumpkins are native to Central America while goats are native to southwest Asia and eastern Europe. Here the domesticated versions meet up. The goats win.

Goats eating discarded jack-o-lantern (photo by Rebecca Siegel via Wkimedia Commons)

Happy Halloween!

(photos by Kate St. John, Steve Gosser, and from Wikimedia Commons)

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