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A few days ago, I went out to the American River in nearby Fair Oaks with the Big Guy; I wandered around with my camera while he was busy fishing. It wasn’t until I decided to join him on the river bank that I noticed the nearby bushes were absolutely covered in small dark blue beetles. They were so tightly packed together in spots that on first glance, I actually thought I was looking at blackberries!

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Yes it’s blurry, but — beetle swarm!

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It turns out these are cobalt milkweed beetles, and on closer inspection many of them appear to be gorging themselves on milkweed plants. I’m still not sure if every bush I saw them on was a milkweed plant — although, according to Wikipedia, there are over 140 known species of milkweed. I do know that when I returned to the same spot three days later the beetles were still swarming but had moved up the bank to a different group of bushes.

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Beetle convention on the river bank
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Beetle berries?
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Pretty — and pretty creepy!

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