Lygaeidea & Pyrrhocoroidea

Ant-mimicking Seed Bug I
Ant-mimicking Seed Bug II
Brown Seed Bug
Black and White Seed Bug 

Milkweed Bugs - subfamily LYGAEINAE

Family Lygaeidae

This page contains pictures and information about Milkweed Bugs in subfamily LYGAEINAE that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia. 

Milkweed Bug adult feeding on Milkweed seed 
Milkweed Bugs in subfamily LYGAEINAE may be confused with the Coreid Bugs for the look similar in body shape. They can be distinguished with their membrane of forewing with distinct basal cell and less dense veins. The nymphal abdominal scent glands are between terga IV and V and V and VI. 
Lygaeid bugs in other subfamilies are usually small and cryptically colored ground dwellers. Milkweed Bugs in subfamily LYGAEINAE are of medium to large size, boldly patterned in red or orange and black warning colours, and are found on or in conspicuously placed plant seed pods. Nymphs are bright red and black in colours and different species nymphs look very similar.. 
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Different Milkweed Bug species nymphs
Those bugs feed on many different species host plants and seeds of the "poisonous" plant family Asclepidaceae, Apocyanaceae, and Solanaciae. This feeding habit earned the subfamily LYGAEINAE the common name of milkweed bugs. Nymphs are early found on Milkweed seed pods.

PWC_7598.jpg (157357 bytes)Genus Arocatus - Small Milkweed Bugs
We commonly call the bugs in this genus Arocatus as Small Milkweed Bugs. They are small to medium in size and can be found on Milkweeds Asclepias sp.. Usually they were found in large number on host plants. Adults and nymphs of different instars stages were found on the same plant. We often found more than one species mixed feeding together. 

wpe19.jpg (26383 bytes)Genus Scopiastes - Stalk-eyed Bugs
The Genus Scopiastes has eyes on stalk so we commonly call those bugs Stalk-eyed Bugs. They have strongly punctuate pronotum. Their body is narrow and elongate with parallel sides. 

Genus Graptostethus and Spilostethus - Large Milkweed Bugs
Genus Graptostethus and Spilostethus are closely related. They were always found on Milkweed plants. They are brightly red in colour with distinguish black patterns.  

DSC_6452.jpg (122344 bytes)Genus Oncopeltus - Milk Vine Bugs
The bug is colourful, with red head, brown thorax, yellow wing-covers and black wing tips. Its abdomen is bright orange-yellow with red tip. The bug is eye-catching when sitting on green plants.   

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 499.
2. LYGAEIDAE - Australian Biological Resources Study, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2002.
3. A taxonomic revision of the Lygaeinae of Australia (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae) - Slater, A., University of Kansas science bulletin, v. 52(8,i.e.9) p. 301-481, 1985. 

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Last updated: February 17, 2012.