Critter by the River
Tue, May 19, 2009 at 2:46 AM
Hey I sent this in earlier this month and realized it may not have gone through as I didn’t receive an email confirmation. I found this critter by a stagnant pond near the bank of the Verde River in Cottonwood, Arizona at 5/5. I was taking photos of tadpoles when it wandered into my view. This is the only clear photo I got of him, sadly; the rest came out blurry. I haven’t seen another like it before or since, and I’ve been back out there twice since that date.
It is less than a centimeter long, with an up-curved abdomen that ends in a point. It otherwise resembled an ant. If the photo is not good enough shoot me an email and I will attempt to sketch it for you as accurately as I can remember. Curiosity is burning me up, let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help!
Justen, Cottonwood, Arizona
This is a Rove Beetle in the genus Paederus. We first got letters regarding this genus from Cameroon and other parts of Africa where it is known as a Creechie Bug. The Paederus Rove Beetles, according to BugGuide: “contain a toxic chemical (pederin) in their hemolymph which causes contact dermatitis in humans, usually as a result of slapping the beetle and crushing it against exposed skin. The affected area becomes red, swollen, and itchy, causing the skin to peel when scratched. Outbreaks of Paederus dermatitis have occurred in Africa, Asia, and South America.
Historically, extracts of Paederus beetles have been used by the Chinese since at least the year 739 in the medicinal treatment of boils, nasal polyps, and ringworm.” They are found throughout North America.