Large Milkweed Bug - Spilostethus hospes  

Family Lygaeidae 

This page contains pictures and information about Large Milkweed Bugs that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Length 15mm
The Large Milkweed Bugs are red in colour, with black pattern. Sure this is the warning colour pattern to their predators. Their antennae and legs are black in colour. 
 wpe6.jpg (52439 bytes) wpe1C.jpg (35889 bytes)
We found two red bugs on the Milkweed plants. This Large Milkweed bug, with black patterns on orange colour, larger in size. The other, we call them Small Milkweed Bugs, with no pattern on wings and thorax, little bit smaller in size. The two different bug species just stay together peacefully sucking the juice from the Milkweed plant seeds. 
wpe12.jpg (31775 bytes)  wpe11.jpg (33896 bytes)
The bug feeds on the Milkweed seed. Notice in the 1st picture above, a big with its sucking mouths (stylets) inserted into the seed.
wpe5.jpg (33726 bytes) wpe8.jpg (19971 bytes) wpeA.jpg (37967 bytes)
The red and black patterns on their back is a warning to the would-be predators that they are toxic. However, the patterns on their back can be vary quite a bit in different individual.
DSCN1468.JPG (68091 bytes) DSCN1473.JPG (110519 bytes) DSCN1476.JPG (93611 bytes)
All insects we found feeding on Milkweed plants have some sort of warning patterns. They included the Wanderer Butterflies and the Milkweed Aphids.

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, p502, Plate 3W.
2. Specimen Image Index - Insect Reference Collection Database - ICDB, Western Australian Department of Agriculture, 2006.
3. 黑斑長椿象 Spilostethus hospes (Fabricius, 1794) - 六足王國─台灣的昆蟲 Insects of Taiwan, 2008. 

Back to top

Up ] [ Large Milkweed Bug ] Small Milkweed Bug ] Red and Black Seed Bug ] 4-Coloured Bug ]


See us in our Home page. Download large pictures in our Wallpaper web page. Give us comments in our Guest Book, or send email to us. A great way to support us is to buy the CD from us.  
Last updated: January 09, 2009.