false milkweed bug

(Lygaeus turcicus)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

false milkweed bug

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common

Flight/Season

 

Habitat

 

Size

Total Length: ¼ to ½ (6.5 to 13 mm)

          Photo by Alfredo Colon
 
Identification

False milkweed bug is a medium-sized seed bug. It occurs in the United States east of the Great Plains, in Ontario Canada, and in Mexico.

Adults are ¼ to ½ (6.5 to 13 mm) long, fairly hard-bodied, robust, and oval.

The head is mostly black with a large. Y-shaped, orange mark extending from the top of the head (vertex) to in front of each compound eye. The beak-like part of the head containing the mouth parts (rostrum) has four segments. It is short, slender, and projects downward and forward when sucking plant juices. It is tucked into a groove on the underside of the thorax when not in use. The antennae are much longer than the head but much shorter than the body. They have four segments beyond the short basal segment (scape). They are not widened at the tip (clubbed). There are two large compound eyes on the sides of the head and two small simple eyes (ocelli) on the top of the head. The distance between an ocelli and the adjacent compound eye is about six times the distance between the two ocelli.

The exoskeletal plate covering the thorax (pronotum) is about twice as wide at the rear than at the front. The front third is mostly black. The rear two-thirds is mostly orange with two broad black spots at the rear margin and two small spots at the front.

There are two pairs of wings, and they are held flat over the body when at rest. The front wings (hemelytra) are longer than the hind wings and only slightly longer than the body. The exoskeletal plate between the wing bases (scutellum), is large, triangular and entirely black. The hemelytra have a thickened part at the base and a thin, membranous part at the tip, with a clear dividing line between the two. The thickened part is comprised of narrow area (clavus) behind the scutellum when the wings are closed, a broad marginal area (corium), and at the end of the corium a small triangular area (cuneus). The clavus is orange in front, black at the rear. The corium is mostly orange with a small black spot on the inner margin near the front and a large black spot on the outer margin near the middle. The combined black areas on the scutellum, clavus, and corium give the appearance of two overlapping heart-shaped spots in the middle and a large spot on each side. The membranous portion of the hemelytron has 4 or 5 veins. It is entirely black, without white spots and without a white margin.

The legs are black. The third segment (femur) on the front leg is thickened. The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has 3 segments. The last tarsal segment has a claw at the tip and a pad at the base of each claw.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Larval Food

 

 
Adult Food

Seeds of false sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides)

 
Life Cycle

 

 
Behavior

 

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 29, 30.

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Order:

Hemiptera (true bugs, cicadas, hoppers, aphids and allies)

 

No Rank:

Euhemiptera

 

No Rank:

Neohemiptera

 

No Rank:

Prosorrhyncha

 

Suborder:

Heteroptera (true bugs)

 

No Rank:

Euheteroptera

 

No Rank:

Neoheteroptera

 

No Rank:

Panheteroptera

 

Infraorder:

Pentatomomorpha

 

Superfamily:

Lygaeoidea

 

Family:

Lygaeidae (seed bugs)

 

Subfamily:

Lygaeinae

 

Genus:

Lygaeus

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

false milkweed bug

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Corium

The thickened basal portion of the front wing that lies between the clavus and the membrane of insects in the family Hemiptera.

 

Cuneus

The triangular, hardened, horn-like tip of the forewing of a plant bug (family Miridae).

 

Femur

On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.

 

Hemelytron

The forewing of true bugs (Order Hemiptera), thickened at the base and membranous at the tip. Plural: hemelytra.

 

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Pronotum

The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

Rostrum

The stiff, beak-like projection of the carapace or prolongation of the head of an insect, crustacean, or cetacean.

 

Scape

On plants: An erect, leafless stalk growing from the rootstock and supporting a flower or a flower cluster. On insects: The basal segment of the antenna.

 

Scutellum

The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.

 

Tarsus

On insects, the last two to five subdivisions of the leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. On spiders, the last segment of the leg. Plural: tarsi.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Alfredo Colon
       
  false milkweed bug    
       
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  False Milkweed Bug (Lygaeus turcicus)
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  False Milkweed Bug (Lygaeus turcicus)  
     

 

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  False milkweed bug
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About

Jul 4, 2016

During the busy summer season false milkweed bugs combine dinner with a date in flower blossoms.

   
       

 

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Alfredo Colon
8/5/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

false milkweed bug


     
     
 
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Created: 7/29/2020

Last Updated:

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