Home / Longhorn Beetles (Cerambycidae) / Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus)

Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus)

Red milkweed beetle of the longhorn beetle family gets its name because of its red coloration and also since it feeds on the milkweed plants.

Red Milkweed Beetle

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Cerambycidae
  • Genus: Tetraopes
  • Scientific name: Tetraopes tetrophthalmus

Adult

Size: 8 – 15 mm (0.31 – 0.59 inches)

Color: They have a reddish-orange body with prominent black spots all over.

Other Characteristic Features: These beetles have long legs and antennae. Like most other longhorn beetles, this species also have their antennae situated close to their eyes.

Tetraopes tetrophthalmus

Larva

When newly hatched, the larvae locate the milkweed roots by tunneling and burrowing into the soil.

Pupa

The pupal phase begins in the earthen chambers that the larva makes in the soil.

Egg

The small-sized eggs appear red, primarily laid in summer, in clutches near the roots and stems of milkweed plants.

Quick Facts

Other NamesMilkweed beetle
Adult lifespanAbout a month
Duration of larval stageNot recorded
DistributionParts of North America
HabitatGardens, road edges, grasslands, and everywhere else their host plants grow
Common PredatorsBirds, and bats
Seasons active fromNot recorded
Host PlantsMilkweed
Diet of larvae and adults Larvae: Roots
Adults: Flowers, buds, leaves
Milkweed Beetle

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

The larvae eat the roots, while the adults feed on the leaves, flowers, and buds. In this way, they cause significant damage to the entire plant hampering its growth to a great extent.

Did You Know

  • Their bright red and black coloration is an outcome of ingesting the milkweed plant’s toxins. This strategy indeed serves as a chemical defense, helping the beetles give their predators an impression that they are inedible. 
Red Milkweed Beetle Picture

Image Source: i.pinimg.com, s3.amazonaws.com, live.staticflickr.com

Red milkweed beetle of the longhorn beetle family gets its name because of its red coloration and also since it feeds on the milkweed plants.

Red Milkweed Beetle

Adult

Size: 8 – 15 mm (0.31 – 0.59 inches)

Color: They have a reddish-orange body with prominent black spots all over.

Other Characteristic Features: These beetles have long legs and antennae. Like most other longhorn beetles, this species also have their antennae situated close to their eyes.

Tetraopes tetrophthalmus

Larva

When newly hatched, the larvae locate the milkweed roots by tunneling and burrowing into the soil.

Pupa

The pupal phase begins in the earthen chambers that the larva makes in the soil.

Egg

The small-sized eggs appear red, primarily laid in summer, in clutches near the roots and stems of milkweed plants.

Quick Facts

Other NamesMilkweed beetle
Adult lifespanAbout a month
Duration of larval stageNot recorded
DistributionParts of North America
HabitatGardens, road edges, grasslands, and everywhere else their host plants grow
Common PredatorsBirds, and bats
Seasons active fromNot recorded
Host PlantsMilkweed
Diet of larvae and adults Larvae: Roots
Adults: Flowers, buds, leaves
Milkweed Beetle

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

The larvae eat the roots, while the adults feed on the leaves, flowers, and buds. In this way, they cause significant damage to the entire plant hampering its growth to a great extent.

Did You Know

  • Their bright red and black coloration is an outcome of ingesting the milkweed plant’s toxins. This strategy indeed serves as a chemical defense, helping the beetles give their predators an impression that they are inedible. 
Red Milkweed Beetle Picture

Image Source: i.pinimg.com, s3.amazonaws.com, live.staticflickr.com

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