red milkweed beetle

(Tetraopes tetrophthalmus)

Conservation Status
red milkweed beetle
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Red milkweed beetle is one of three eastern milkweed longhorn beetles.

The female is 5 16 to long, slightly larger than the male. The body is robust and has broad shoulders. The head, the plate covering the first segment of the thorax (pronotum), and the hardened wing covers (elytra) are red.

The face is nearly flat. The antennae are ½ to long, about as long as the body. They are all black, not ringed with white or gray. The red base of the antennae is inserted into the black eye, splitting the eye into two parts. Two segmented feeler-like structures (palpi) are attached to the lower jaw-like structures (maxillae). The last segment of each maxillary palp is pointed.

The pronotum has four small black spots and a raised, disk-shaped hump.

Each elytron has five black spots: one in the shoulder region (humerus); a small spot at the base of the elytron near the scutellum; a small antemedial spot neat the suture; a large medial spot near the center; and a small post medial spot near the center.

The legs, including the third segments (femurs), are all black. The forward, middle, and back legs each have 5 end segments (tarsi). They appear as 4 segments because the minute 4th segment is concealed by the enlarged 3rd segment.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: 5 16 to

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Milkweed longhorn beetles are found on one or more species of milkweeds. The plant species on which the beetle is found is an aid to identification of the beetle species.

Red-femured milkweed borer (Tetraopes femoratus), as its name suggests, has red femurs. The antennae are ringed with white. The medial black spots on the elytra are no larger than other spots or are absent. It feeds exclusively on showy milkweed.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Meadows, fields, prairies, roadsides. Anywhere the host plants are found.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

May to September

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Adults emerge in May or later, coinciding with the flowering of common milkweed. In early summer the female lays eggs near the base of a common milkweed stem. When the larvae hatch they bore into the stem. They overwinter in the roots.

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Roots of common milkweed and possibly one or more other milkweed species.

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Leaves and buds of common milkweed and possibly one or more other milkweed species.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 24, 27, 29, 30, 82.

 
  6/27/2022      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Coleoptera (beetles)  
 

Suborder

Polyphaga (water, rove, scarab, long-horned, leaf, and snout beetles)  
 

Infraorder

Cucujiformia  
 

Superfamily

Chrysomeloidea (leaf beetles and allies)

 
 

Family

Cerambycidae (longhorn beetles)  
 

Subfamily

Lamiinae (flat-faced longhorn beetles)  
 

Tribe

Tetraopini  
 

Genus

Tetraopes (milkweed longhorn beetles)  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Lamia fornator

Lamia tornator

Tetraopes humeralis

Tetraopes tetraophthalmus

Tetraopes tetrophthalmus iowensis

Tetraopes tredecimpunctatus

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

eastern milkweed longhorn beetle

red milkweed beetle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Elytra

The hardened or leathery forewings on an insect used to protect the fragile hindwings, which are used for flying, in beetles and true bugs.

 

Femur

On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.

 

Pronotum

The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

Scutellum

The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings.

 

Tarsus

The last two to five sections of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Greg Watson

 
    red milkweed beetle      
 

Christin Congdon

 
 

Nearest major Cross roads Garden View Drive and Whitney

 
    red milkweed beetle      
 

Nanc

 
    red milkweed beetle   red milkweed beetle  
 

Susan Gangl

 
    red milkweed beetle      
 

Alfredo Colon

 
 

Red milkweed beetle, Tetraopes tetrophthalmus

 
    red milkweed beetle   red milkweed beetle  
           
    red milkweed beetle   red milkweed beetle  
           
    red milkweed beetle   red milkweed beetle  
           
    red milkweed beetle      
 

Paula Rabine

 
 

Loving our milkweed!

 
    red milkweed beetle      
 

Lucy M

 
    red milkweed beetle      
 

Bill Reynolds

 
 

Red Milkweed Beetle crawling all over the Milkweed today.

 
    red milkweed beetle   red milkweed beetle  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    red milkweed beetle   red milkweed beetle  
           
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Red Milkweed Beetle
DianesDigitals
  Red Milkweed Beetle  
 
About

Copyright DianesDigitals

 
Red Milkweed Beetle
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Red Milkweed Beetle  
 
About

Tetraopes tetrophthalmus

 

 

slideshow

       
 
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Other Videos
 
  Milkweed Beetle
ExploringWithGeorge
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 6, 2013

Tetraopes tetrophthalmus, commonly known as the red milkweed beetle, is a beetle in the family Cerambycidae. The binomial genus and species names are both derived from the Latin for "four eyes." As in many longhorn beetles, the antennae are situated very near the eye - in the red milkweed beetle, this adaptation has been carried to an extreme: the antennal base actually bisects the eye

The milkweed beetle, a herbivore, is given this name because they are generally host specific to milkweed plants (genus Asclepias). It is thought the beetle and its early instars derive a measure of protection from predators by incorporating toxins from the plant into their bodies, thereby becoming distasteful, much as the Monarch butterfly and its larvae do. The red and black coloring are aposematic, advertising the beetles' inedibility. There are many milkweed-eating species of insect that use the toxins contained in the plant as a chemical defense.

 
  Mating milkweed beetles in the morning, moist
Robert Klips
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 24, 2011

The red milkweed beetle, Tetraopes tetrophthalmus (Coleoptera; Cerambycidae) is a common herbivore on milkweed (Asclepias). Note how the antennal base bisects the eye (a trait referred to by both the genus and specific epithet,meaning "four eyes"). Here a pair of them enjoy a summer morning on July 5, 2011 at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area in Wyandot County, Ohio, USA.

 
  Feeding Red Milkweed Beetle - Hamilton County, Ohio, USA
William Hull
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on May 24, 2010

Red Milkweed Beetle feeding on Common Milkweed in my yard in Hamilton County, Ohio, USA. May 24, 2010.

 

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
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  Greg Watson
7/24/2022

Location: La Crescent, MN, backyard

red milkweed beetle  
  Christin Congdon
6/26/2022

Location: Apple Valley, MN 55124

Nearest major Cross roads Garden View Drive and Whitney

red milkweed beetle  
  Susan Carlson
7/11/2021

Location: Medina next to Baker Park

   
  Nanc
7/6/2021

Location: Brooklyn Park, Mn

red milkweed beetle  
  Susan Gangl
7/4/2020

Location: St. Paul, Macalester Groveland / Highland area

red milkweed beetle  
  Alfredo Colon
8/2 - 8/7/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

red milkweed beetle  
  Paula
7/11/2019

Location: 55416

red milkweed beetle  
  Lucy M
7/11/2015

Location: Hennepin County

red milkweed beetle  
  Bill Reynolds
7/29/2014

Location: Pennington Co.

Red Milkweed Beetle crawling all over the Milkweed today.

red milkweed beetle  
           
 
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