We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at ...

We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at ...

We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! The following post was originally published on July 25, 2020.

If you have any milkweed growing near you, you've probably spotted a whole bunch of these small yellow insects covering the new leaves at the top of the plant. This is Aphis nerii, commonly called the milkweed aphid or the oleander aphid.

It's believed that this aphid probably originated in the Mediterranean where it fed on oleander, which is its main host plant. However, it has since become widespread in tropical and warm temperate regions around the world.

Perhaps the most remarkable fact about these aphids is that males have never been observed in the wild! How is that possible? These aphids are viviparous and parthenogenetic. "Viviparous" means that rather than laying eggs, these aphids give birth to live young, while "parthenogenetic" means that the aphids form viable embryos without the need for fertilization. This not only means that these strong, independent aphids don't need no man; it also means that a female aphid's offspring are clones of the mother!

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com).

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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