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Genus Tetraopes - Milkweed Longhorns

mating Red Milkweed Beetles - Tetraopes tetrophthalmus Milkweed Longhorn Beetle (Tetraopes sp.) - Tetraopes basalis Milkweed Borer - Tetraopes basalis Red Milkweed Beetle - Tetraopes tetrophthalmus Tetraopes sp. playing dead - Tetraopes melanurus Red Milkweed Beetle - Tetraopes tetrophthalmus Tetraopes - Tetraopes texanus Long Horn Red Beelte - Tetraopes basalis
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Long-horned, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
Superfamily Chrysomeloidea (Long-horned and Leaf Beetles)
Family Cerambycidae (Long-horned Beetles)
Subfamily Lamiinae (Flat-Faced Longhorns)
Tribe Tetraopini
Genus Tetraopes (Milkweed Longhorns)
Other Common Names
Red Milkweed Beetle, Milkweed Borer
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Tetraopes Dalman in Schönherr 1817
Explanation of Names
Greek tetra 'four' + ops 'eye' (in this genus, each compound eye is separated in two)
14-15 spp. in our area, (27 total) (1)
Bright red to reddish orange with black spots longhorn beetles associated with milkweed (Asclepias species) or, in a few cases, related plants.
Tetraopes spp. - Cerambycidae Catalog
Canada to Costa Rica; in our area, 3 spp. are eastern, the rest mostly western, with 7 restricted to sw. US (1)
Fields, etc. with hostplants
Primarily: Jun-Aug, April to October in Texas (BG data)
Adults feed on leaves of milkweed (Asclepias); larvae feed externally on roots of host (root feeding is unique among Lamiinae). Each species (or subspecies) is associated with one or a few species of Asclepias (an example of coevolution) (Farrell & Mitter 1998)

Asclepias host plants of some species of Tetraopes
T. annulatus: A. sullivantii, A. subverticillata, A. speciosa
T. basalis: A. eriocarpa
T. discoideus: A. subverticillata, A. curassavica
T. femoratus: A. speciosa
T. linsleyi: A. linaria
T. mandibularis: A. latifolia
T. melanurus: Asclepias tuberosa.
T. pilosus: A. arenaria
T. quinquemaculatus: A. amplexicaulis
T. tetrophthalmus: A. syriaca
T. sublaevis: A. erosa
Life Cycle
Larvae live in soil and feed externally on roots of host. Each species (or subspecies) of beetle is associated with one species of Asclepias; believed to be an example of coevolution (Farrell & Mitter 1998)
Print References
Farrell B.D., & C. Mitter. 1998. The timing of insect/plant diversification: might Tetraopes (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) and Asclepias (Asclepiadaceae) have co-evolved? Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 63: 553–577. Full PDF
Skillman F.W., Jr. 2007. A new species of Tetraopes Schoenherr (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Insecta Mundi 0008: 1-3 (Full text)
Internet References
Texas Entomology - Mike Quinn, 2009
Colorado State U. PDF document
NIH. Evolution of specialization: a phylogenetic study of host range in the red milkweed beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus)