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Round Mountain Section, Deer Path Park
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Bumblebee (genus Bombus) on Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca).  Milkweed gets its name from the sap that it leaks when broken, which looks like milk.  Monarch butterflies need milkweed to survive.  They lay their eggs on the plants and the caterpillars eat the milkweed leaves, which contain toxins.  The toxins do not hurt the caterpillar, but make the caterpillar poisonous to most predators.  The survival of the monarch butterfly depends on this self-defense system provided by the milkweed (WDNR).  Bumblebees are non-aggressive, although females are capable of stinging.  They nest in colonies underground and are valuable as native pollinators. 

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Photographs by Valerie Lykes