"The large milkweed bug is colored orange-red and black. It has a long proboscis and is a piercing sucking insect. It feeds on the seeds, leaves and stems of milkweed (Asclepias). It is found in small groups on milkweed often on the stems, leaves and on the seed pods. The bodies of milkweed bugs contain toxic compounds derived from the sap which they suck from milkweed." ~http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org
Eastern North America
"They are used as research insects because they are easy to use in the laboratory, have a short life cycle and are easy to manipulate."