Tetraopes tetrophthalmus

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For the blue milkweed beetle, see Chrysochus cobaltinus.
Red milkweed beetle
Tetraopes tetrophthalmus-1.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Cerambycidae
Genus: Tetraopes
Species: T. tetrophthalmus
Binomial name
Tetraopes tetrophthalmus
Forster, 1771

The red milkweed beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) 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. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Antenna bisects 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.

External links[edit]

  • Red Milkweed Beetle Find large format reference quality diagnostic photographs and more information.