The Blues of Yosemite Falls

Chrysochus cobaltinus, the Milkweed Cobalt Beetle

My fondest Yosemite memory

When I say the blue hues I saw at Yosemite falls were gorgeous, you might not think of Chrysochus cobaltinus, the cobalt milkweed beetle, but that is just what I am talking about. In my only trip to Yosemite National Park to date, in June 2014, I was amazed to see these gorgeous beetles munching away in huge numbers on milkweed plants just a few feet away from Yosemite falls. Other tourists were confused to see someone with a fancy (at least fancy-looking) camera hunched over the walkway pointing the wrong way and at the ground.

Chrysochus cobaltinus, the Milkweed Cobalt Beetle

Chrysochus cobaltinus, the Milkweed Cobalt Beetle

Looking back at my photos from that trip, nearly half of them were of this species. I have a personal mantra that if I finish the day with one good photo of one new and desirable arthropod then the day was a success, and I certainly feel that way about that day in Yosemite. C. cobaltinus is not by any means restricted to Yosemite N.P. or California; it occurs in most of the Western U.S. and Canada, but I had never seen it prior to that day and have not seen it since (which is not to say it is rare, but rather I haven’t happened across the right places).

Hanging out on a milkweed leaf

Hanging out on a milkweed leaf

Another thing that I love about this beetle is it’s brilliant blue hue. I really recommend a post by the famous Piotr Naskrecki on the rareness of blue in animals, it is a great read.

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