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Insects and other arthropods

Small milkweed bug

Lygaeus kalmii

Tabs group


This red and black bug has a distinctive red X-shaped marking on its wings and a red band on the first thoracic segment behind its head. Its slender body is 10 to 12 mm long.

The nymph has a red or orange-red abdomen, with black spots appearing on it as the insect grows. The wing pads are black and become more pronounced with each moult.

Life cycle

In June, the female lays her eggs on a milkweed plant, Asclepias syriaca. The nymphs, which do not have functional wings, pass through successive moults on the plant before becoming adults. There are one or more generations per year, depending on conditions in the habitat. These bugs overwinter as adults.

Geographic distribution

They are found more or less throughout Canada and the United States, except for the southeast.

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