What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Beetle pictured near Amboseli, Kenya
Location: Amboseli, Kenya
July 13, 2016 7:32 am
Hi there,
I was recently in Kenya and captured a few pictures of an interesting bug but none of the people there knew the name of it, nor do I know what plant it was eating (a rather lovely purple flower)
It was captured in July 2016, so Kenyan winter.
Can you please help identify it for my picture collection.
Signature: Tane Piper

Blister Beetle: Mylabris oculata

Blister Beetle: Mylabris oculata

Dear Tane,
This is one beautiful Blister Beetle in the family Meloidae and the colors on your image, the bold black and white beetle, the orange antennae and the ultraviolet purple blossom are stunning.  We quickly identified a similar looking Blister Beetle on the Kenya Natural History Guide that is identified as being in the genus
Mylabris.  The site states:  “Many blister beetles are so toxic to mammals that ingestion of a few may be enough to kill a horse. It happens occasionally when the beetles get wrapped up into a bale of hay, quite by accident. Birds somehow just know that a beetle with this pattern should never be eaten, and they leave them alone. There are many, many species of Mylabris distributed across Africa, Europe and Asia.”  Once we had a genus name, we identified the species on Beetles of Africa and confirmed the identification on iSpot.

Blister Beetle: Mylabris oculata

Blister Beetle: Mylabris oculata

Thank you! Yes I thought it was a rather stunning beetle.
– Tane

Blister Beetle: Mylabris oculata

Blister Beetle: Mylabris oculata

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Amboseli, Kenya
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