Subject: Black insect with red head
Location: Penang, Malaysia
June 5, 2016 5:22 am
I came across this bug when I was collecting bugs for a school project at a forest trail near a dam. This insect is black with a red head and has long-ish antennas and legs. Its legs and antennas look sectioned, like bamboo. It can fly and bite(has wings and pinchers). I fed it some fruit peel and cooked rice and it seems to be eating the rice. Please help me identify the insect.
Signature: Desperate student
Dear Desperate Student,
We immediately recognized your insect as a Blister Beetle in the family Meloidae, and upon searching for the family in Malaysia, we found images of your species on FlickR, but they are not identified to the species level. We believe we have successfully identified it as Epicauta hirticornis thanks to an image of a mating pair on Sinobug. According to Farangs Gone Wild, it is commonly called the Red Headed Blister Beetle. Blister Beetles should be handled with extreme caution as they can secrete a compound cantharidin that may cause blistering in human skin.