Thursday, August 4, 2011

Red Milkweed Beetle

The milkweed patch is a busy place, especially when the milkweed is blooming.

Reader, I'd like you to meet one of the insects pictured above.
Red Milkweed Beetle, Tetraopes tetrophthalmus
"Howdy Pard', you can call me Red."

A Long-Horned Beetle, The Red Milkweed Beetle
   The Red Milkweed Beetles are a member of the long-horned beetle (Cerambycidae) family.  Some folks call them the Milkweed Longhorn.   Perhaps that's why I see the beetle pictured above as slightly resembling a Texas Longhorn cow.  The absurdly long antennae are about as far as the resemblance goes, but longhorn beetle is a fitting name.
   Another fitting name for the Red Milkweed Beetle is the Four-eyed Beetle.
   Notice the pair of eyes above the antennae and also a pair below.  That pair of eyes above the antennae reminds me of the saying "eyes in the back of your head".
   I don't know that this beetle really needs eyes in the back of its head, since it is chemically protected by the milkweed toxins it sequesters while feeding on the milkweed.
   The Red Milkweed Beetle spends most of its life in the milkweed patch.  Even the beetle's larvae mine and feed in the milkweeds roots.
   This four-eyed, long-horned beetle of the milkweed patch ranks right up there with the incredible Monarch caterpillar
   Would there be a chance that there are even more Nature Posts unfolding in the milkweed patch? 

1 comment:

  1. Informative, educational post, as always. Hope you're having a marvellous summer Dana.