red milkweed beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus)

red milkweed beetle

Photo by Bill Reynolds

The red milkweed beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) is a common flat-faced, longhorn beetle. It feeds only on the leaves of milkweeds, possibly only common milkweed. It stores poisonous glycosides from the milkweed in its body, making it unpalatable to potential predators. The bright, black and red coloration is thought to signal predators of its unpalatability.

There are three longhorn milkweed beetles in eastern and central North America. This species is identified by the large, black spot near the center of each wing; the all black legs; the all black antennae; and the host species, in this case common milkweed.

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