|The red milkweed beetle, Tetraopes tetrophthalmus.
The red milkweed beetle's genus and species names are derived from Latin and mean four-eyed. Many species in the longhorned beetle family have antennae that originate close to the eyes, some so close that the eyes look indented. In the red milkweed beetle each compound eye is completely separated into two by the placement of the antennae and violà -- four eyes!
|Click to enlarge and check out the antenna with an eye on each side.
|Red milkweed beetles are not the only red and black insects you can find on milkweeds. I've written about two others: large and small milkweed bugs. The red X on its back identifies this small milkweed bug, Lygaeus kalmii.
|The ones with a broad black band across the back are called large milkweed bugs, Oncopeltus fasciatus. You can read a blog I wrote previously about these bugs by clicking here. And another blog about both kinds by clicking here.
Combined with monarch butterflies, that are also milkweed specialists in the caterpillar stage, red milkweed beetles and large and small milkweed bugs make for exciting times in the milkweed patch for insect enthusiasts.