Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Red Milkweed Beetle
This pretty red beetle is the Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes femoratus). They range throughout the Eastern United States and parts of Canada. In Missouri this beetle is very common and will be found on milkweed as it name suggests. They are bright red with varying streaks or spots of black on their elytra. The pronotum contains four distinct spots. This species has four eyes and the antennae grow right up between the eyes, as can be seen in the second picture. Like their bright red color would indicate they are poisonous to would be predators, as are most insects that feed on milkweed. Reaching about 1/2 inch in length they are rather small. Look for them anywhere milkweed can be found, including ditches, roadsides, gardens, fields and grasslands. These little beetles are even capable of making a squeaking sound by rubbing rough areas present on their thorax. The ones pictured here were found on milkweed in my backyard garden. I discovered a couple of years ago that the milkweed mysteriously showed up in my gardens. I left it and it is now spreading, so many wonderful insects use it as a host that there is never a shortage of insects to see and photograph on these plants.