The red milkweed beetle is another nice summer insect. It’s a longhorned beetle, in the family Cerambycidae. Check out its extreme antennae.
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!
Red milkweed beetles are among the few things that can eat the toxin-containing plants of the milkweed genus, Asclepias. They are able to store the toxins and end up unpalatable to potential predators, which they advertise with their showy colors.
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.