Currently viewing the category: "Fire Colored Beetles"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Beetle on lawn
Location: Bowie, MD
March 31, 2012 12:20 pm
My daughter’s (besides being totally creeped out by them) would like to know what this was.
Signature: Dan Delaney

Oil Beetle with Fire Colored Beetles

Dear Dan,
The large beetle is a Blister Beetle called an Oil Beetle in the genus
Meloe, most likely a female.  The smaller beetles are a different species, and we suspect they are not even in the Blister Beetle family.  Blister Beetles exude a compound known as cantharidin as a defense mechanism.  Chatharidin can cause blistering in skin.  The other beetles might be Soldier Beetles, and they do not have a chemical defense.  They might be harvesting the cantharidin to use since they cannot produce the compound.  We will keep trying to identify the other beetles.

Update:  March 31, 2012
Thanks to a comment from Mike, we are happy to learn that these are most likely Fire Colored Beetles, though BugGuide does not provide any explanation for this behavior.  We also found a photo of
Pedilus terminalus on Meloe posted to BugGuide and the behavior is explained here on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bug with wispy secondary set of antenna
May 27, 2010
Dear WhatsThatBug,
I found this interesting little guy on the ceiling in my kitchen. It is currently Spring where I live and the outside temp is about 80 degrees. I took some pictures after I caught him in a jar and then a few outside when he was released. I found him to be especially intriguing due to the fact that he has a small pair of antenna and then large ones that I would describe as feather-like. Initially I thought they were wings coming of his head, but upon closer inspection I saw they were whispy thin antler-like antenna. So please tell me…What’s that bug?
Kari
New Jersey

Fire Colored Beetle

Hi Kari,
What gorgeous images of a Fire Colored Beetle, Dendroides concolor.  Here is what BugGuide has to say:  “Adults are active at night, and may be attracted to lights. Some species may be attracted to fermenting baits.  Male pyrochroid beetles seek out blister beetles, climb onto them and lick off the cantharidin the blister beetles exude. Not only have these beetles developed a resistance to the cantharidin, they use the blistering agent to impress a female of their own species who then mates with them, whereupon most of the cantharidin is transfered to the female in the form of a sperm packet. The eggs the female subsequently lays are coated with cantharidin to protect them from being eaten before they hatch.
… Jim McClarin

Fire Colored Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

red copper bug with wings feathery antennae
Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 7:28 PM
This was found on our cedar picnic table on June 30th in our front yard, flowers, woods around, We are about 40 acres from a lake. Stones in driveway. Tall grasses. Plenty of wildflowers, fruit trees, vegetables.
Heather
Northern Wisconsin

Fire Colored Beetle

Fire Colored Beetle

Hi Heather,
You have submitted a photo of a Fire Colored Beetle in the family Pyrochroidae.  We believe it is in the genus Dendroides, probably Dendroides concolor based on an image posted to BugGuide.  The westernmost sighting of this species posted to BugGuide is from Ohio, but that does not necessarily exclude this species as your individual.  A similar looking western species is Dendroides concolor, but BugGuide reports that species from Oregon and Washington, and we feel it is a less likely candidate.  BugGuide has this to say about the family in general:  “Adults are active at night, and may be attracted to lights.  Some species may be attracted to fermenting baits. Male pyrochroid beetles seek out blister beetles, climb onto them and lick off the cantharidin the blister beetles exude. Not only have these beetles developed a resistance to the cantharidin, they use the blistering agent to impress a female of their own species who then mates with them, whereupon most of the cantharidin is transfered to the female in the form of a sperm packet. The eggs the female subsequently lays are coated with cantharidin to protect them from being eaten before they hatch.”  The pectinate antennae indicate that your individual is a male.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

blister beetle (lytta aenea) beseiged by smaller beetles (pedilus terminalus?)
Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 7:07 AM
Hey bugman, I was walking through the woods here at Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee and I came upon this blister beetle (id’d courtesy of Eric Eaton and y belov on bugguide) being beseiged by the smaller beetles. According to Eric, the smaller beetles are after the cantharidin that the blister beetle secretes as a defense mechanism. I had never seen this before. Eric said that though this behavior was not unheard of, it was not observed very often. I though i would share a picture with you. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks so much for an amazing website!
Thanks, Michael Davis
Maryville, Tennessee

Blister Beetle and cantharidin hungry Fire Colored Beetles

Blister Beetle and cantharidin hungry Fire Colored Beetles

Hi Michael,
Thanks so much for providing our site with your wonderful documentation of a Blister Beetle and the opportunistic Fire Colored Beetles.  According to Jim McClarin on  BugGuide:  “Male pyrochroid beetles seek out blister beetles, climb onto them and lick off the cantharidin the blister beetles exude. Not only have these beetles developed a resistance to the cantharidin, they use the blistering agent to impress a female of their own species who then mates with them, whereupon most of the cantharidin is transfered to the female in the form of a sperm packet. The eggs the female subsequently lays are coated with cantharidin to protect them from being eaten before they hatch.”  If we ever did something crazy like trying to pursue a degree in Entomology, we believe we would specialize in the family Meloidae as we are constantly fascinated by Blister Beetles and their amazing diversity and complex life cycles.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Unknown Naiad, Firefly larva, and Dipluran?
Sat, Oct 18, 2008 at 4:59 PM
Hi BugMan,
I love your website, I’ve been interested in insects since I was younger and always dreamed of being an entomologist. When I entered high school I drifted away from my hobby but in the past few years my inner insect passion has returned. …
The next two photos I took a few days ago in my grandparents’ woods just outside of Scotts, Michigan. The first insect I found under the bark of a rotting log, to me it looks like some kind of firefly larva but I have no idea what it’s holding, remains of a slug perhaps? The second I also found under bark of dead log, it looks like a Dipluran but I don’t really have any idea. I’m not an expert by any means but if you can better identify it, I’d greatly appreciate any of your help.
Thanks for your time,
Phillip “SITNAM7″ in Climax, Michigan
SW Michigan, in Kalamazoo and Climax woods

Forcipate Dipluran

Forcipate Dipluran

Hi again Phillip,
Your identification of a Dipluran seems correct to us. It appears to be a Forcipate Dipluran in the family Japygidae. The members of this family posted to bugGuide look different, but your image matches one reproduced in our Audubon Insect Guide. We are very excited that your photo has added a new category to our website. According to Audubon: “Forcipate Diplurans are whitish, slender, flattened, and wingless insects, 1/8-1/4″ (4-6 mm) long, with long legs and threadlike antennae almost as long as the body. Unlike other diplurans, members of this family have a distinctive pair of short 1-segmented cerci resembling tiny forceps at the tip of the abdomen. Like other diplurans, these live under leaves, stones, or logs on the ground, or under bark.”

CORRECTION: (October 20, 2008)
Hi, Daniel:
Thank you for the prompt! I always enjoy the site anyway, but sometimes forget to visit….
Only thing ‘amiss’ is:
The “forcipate dipluran” is actually the larva of a beetle, probably one of the fire-colored beetles in the family Pyrochroidae. Cucujus clavipes (family Cucujidae) has a very similar larva, however, and I’m unsure how to properly tell them apart. Diplurans are much smaller, paler.
Eric Eaton

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination