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Insects and other arthropods

Red milkweed beetle

Tetraopes tetrophthalmus

Tabs group


These reddish-orange beetles with their black spots are easily recognizable on their host plants, milkweed. Their legs and long antennae, typical of the long-horned beetle family, are black. The species owes its Latin name to its four eyes (tetra = four), which are actually two eyes split in two by the antennae. The adults are from 8 to 15 mm long.

Life cycle

Like all beetles, these insects undergo complete metamorphosis. They start life as eggs, hatch as larvae that moult several times as they grow, and then pupate before emerging as adults, ready to reproduce.

Early in the summer, the females lay their eggs on a milkweed stem near the ground. The larvae grow and live in the soil, feeding on the external parts of the roots, where they spend the winter. They pupate in the spring, and adults emerge early in the summer.

Geographic distribution

They are found in central and eastern North America.

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