Book Review
Milkweed, Monarchs and More

By Rea, Oberhauser and Quinn

Milkweed, Monarchs and More

"The milkweed community is a stage for a season-long series of dramas involving a cast of fascinating characters," begins this pocket-sized field guide. The pages that follow are packed with awesome images of the invertebrate world that lives, generally unnoticed, right beneath our noses.

This handy guide introduces the reader to the kinds of creatures that come and go from the lowly milkweed patch, each with a job to do: herbivores, nectivores, scavengers, decomposers, predators, and just plain passers-by. But beyond a simple identification guide, this little book portrays the complex interactions between these backyard creatures and delivers what's promised, "A fascinating glimpse into the complex interdependence of life on our planet."

Some Members of the Milkweed Community
Milkweed Bug

Photo: Mike Quinn

Orb weaver spider feeding on a queen butterfly
Photo: Mike Quinn

Planthoppers, adult and nymph (below,) feeding on milkweed.
Photo: Ba Rea

National Science Education Standards

Life Science (some of the main concepts covered)

All animals depend on plants. Some animals eat plants for food. Others eat animals that eat plants. (K-4)

An organism's behavior patterns are related to the nature of that organism's environment. (K-4)

Populations of organisms can be categorized by the function they serve in an ecosystem. Food webs identify the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in an ecosystem. (5-8)

Biological evolution accounts for the diversity of species through gradual processes over many generations. Species acquire many of their unique characteristics through biological adaptation, which involves the selection of naturally occurring variations in populations. Biological adaptations include changes in structures, behaviors, or physiology that enhance survival and reproductive success in a particular environment. (5-8)