Red headed Chinese beetle for Identification
February 15, 2010
Dear Bugman,
I would be very grateful if you could help identify this beetle to any taxanomic level. I saw it in Sichuan province last July on a mountain path at about 600-900m. To my inexperienced eye it is very unusual but my guess is it’s some kind of rove beetle.
Sanmeishui, Sichuan

Blister Beetle

Hi Ed,
Though Rove Beetle was a good guess, this is actually a Blister Beetle in the family Meloidae.  It resembles many North American species in the genus Lytta, which you can compare on BugGuide, so that genus is our best guess at the moment.

Hi Daniel, thank you for your ID. Yes I see now it is a blister beetle and that
they have quite a characteriustic shape. Lytta looks like the correct genus, I
see that many species have different patterns of red on their head and thorax
with a black abdomen. Must be closely related to these N American spp.
Best Wishes

3 Responses to Blister Beetle from China: Possibly Lytta species

  1. kkroeker says:

    It could also be a species of Epicauta. Several Asian species have red heads only, with all or mostly black bodies. For example, you could compare to E. tibialis and E. hirticornis at:

  2. boa03eas says:

    Hi, thanks for your message. I’ve looked at your links and you’re right, it’s definitely this genus if not one of these spp. I also read on BugGuide that Lytta has relatively clubbed antenna while Epicauta have thread like antenna as in my photo. Couldn’t spot any difference between the spp that could help me identify my beetle though, and I suppose there could be many more similar looking Epicauta. Saying that I’m very pleased to get it to genus.

  3. Anton says:

    OMG please can we get a definitive ID on this. I’ve been searching for ages and ages. Im having a terrible time with bands of these that fly in and decimate my plants. Strip them bare of every leaf. They move around in large groups of at least three hundred. Believe me that one you saw there were a couple of hundred very near by eating their heads off. somewhere. They are very punctual arriving in the month of April. They eat anything but tend to eat a single species at a time. In other words if they start on the birds nest ferns they will eat all the birds nests ferns in the garden then move on, if they start on the passion fruit vines they will eat all the passion fruit vines and move on. They are terribly difficult to kill as they seem to communicate with pheremones. Once I start spraying they all drop at once and scatter even those some distance away. Not very good flyers but accurate and always stick together and arrive together. Im in Hong Kong and this picture is definately what this thing is. I need to know all about it to try and get rid of it. They never come back same year but always return in April the following. They’re a real pest but no one here seems to know anything about them, they’re not even listed with the agricultural dept as a pest! Incredibly fast eaters, can strip a large shrub in minutes always leaving a thick carpet of tiny bits of chewed leaf or flower on the ground. Im wondering why they come here every year, always. Its like a fixed route of sorts. Anyway the more I know about them the better prepared I can be. Thanks any info would be very well appreciated!

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