Random Insect: Red milkweed beetle

Red milkweed beetle (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae: Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) on a milkweed (Asclepias sp., Asclepiadaceae). Photographed 07/08/2012 at Side Cut Metropark near Maumee, Ohio.

During the summer I frequently see red milkweed beetles (Coleoptera: CerambycidaeTetraopes tetrophthalmus) feeding on milkweed plants (Asclepias sp., Asclepiadaceae). I came across this individual and many more while walking through the meadows of Side Cut Metropark near Maumee, Ohio. Here I saw the adults feeding exclusively on common milkweed (A. syriaca), but myself and others have also observed them on swamp milkweed (A. incarnata) (Farrell 1998). While the adults can also be found feeding on a few other plants, it’s thought that common milkweed is the sole host for this insect’s full life cycle (Farrell 1998).

Red milkweed beetle (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae: Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) on a milkweed (Asclepias sp., Asclepiadaceae). Photographed 07/08/2012 at Side Cut Metropark near Maumee, Ohio.

Interestingly, the Greek names Tetraopes and tetrophtalmus both mean “four-eyed.” If you look closely, you can indeed see that this beetle has one pair of eyes above the base of the antennae, and one pair below. While many beetles in this family have notched eyes, some like this one have eyes that have become completely divided.

Literature cited:

Farrell, B.D. 1998. The timing of insect/plant diversification: might Tetraopes (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) and Asclepias (Asclepiadaceae) have co-evolved? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 63: 553–577.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Organism Interactions, Random Insect and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Random Insect: Red milkweed beetle

  1. Wow. Another fan of the red milkweed beetle. Believe it or not, I’ve posted photos twice this week of the little critter. I love the way they look and they are pretty cooperative photo subjects. Great post–I learned a lot of new information about one of my favorite insects.

    Like

  2. I’m just planting milkweed now, and happy to know about this beetle. But, it’s not going to interfere with Monarch eggs, I hope. That’s why I’m planting milkweed, but, I’m in CA and planting fascicularis and speciosa, if I can find some.

    Like

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