Subject: Soft bodied, light green spotted bug
Location: Utah, West Desert
July 27, 2013 9:40 pm
I have not been able to identify this bug via Google images, FB post in a permaculture site or in any of the books I have at home or researched at the Library. So, if you are able to identify this bug I would have to answer Yes, you are an expert!
We didn’t even notice the challenge you baited us with until we correctly identified your beetle as a Spotted Blister Beetle, Epicauta normalis (or Epicauta maculata), which we first located on the Utah Pests page of the Utah State University Cooperative Education site and then confirmed on BugGuide. According to Utah Pests, which mentions the Spotted Blister Beetle is one of the most common members of the Blister Beetle family Meloidae in Utah: “Alfalfa growers and livestock owners should always be concerned with blister beetles. These beetles belong to the family Meloidae and produce cantharidin, a chemical toxic to people and animals. Smashing one of these beetles against the skin can lead to painful blisters and swelling. A recent incident with alfalfa hay infested with blister beetles resulted in the death of a horse, which are particularly sensitive to this beetle’s toxin. When livestock eat hay containing cantharidin the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts become irritated and complications can lead to death. If blister beetle poisoning is suspected (symptoms include blisters and colic among others) contact a veterinarian immediately.” There are several other very similar looking species also called Spotted Blister Beetles, including Epicauta maculata, which is also pictured on BugGuide.