Long, bright orange beetle with black wings
Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 4:12 PM
I found a bunch of these orange and black beetles while airsofting in Arizona and I am not exactly sure what they are. They were in large groups in the grassy areas crawling on eachother. Is it a type of desert beetle?
Arizona, United States
Every year in the spring, we get numerous inquiries about Blister Beetles, especially from the desert areas of the Southwest. When Blister Beetles appear, it is often in prodigious numbers, and then suddenly, they vanish. This is a Master Blister Beetle, Lytta magister. It is well represented on BugGuide. This is one of the largest of the Blister Beetles. The adults eat foliage, flowers, pollen and fruit, and according the BugGuide: “Larvae live in bee nests.” Some species of Blister Beetles feed on grasshopper eggs. The beetles in the family Meloidae are known as Blister Beetles because they secrete hemolymph (blood) from their joints when handled, and the hemolymph contains cantharidin which can cause blisters. A European relative is the infamous Spanish Fly. Congratulations on having your letter and image chosen as our Bug of the Month for April 2009.