Blister Beetles from Morocco

Subject: Red and black striped beetle, High Atlas, Morocco
Location: High Atlas region, Morocco
June 11, 2015 2:33 am
I’m a fan of your website, and I appreciate how you help people understand their insect friends.
I went hiking in the high Atlas region between Marrakech and Ouarzazat in Morocco and saw (among many wonderful bugs) these red and black striped beetles. They were hanging out at the tops of a specific type of plant, which I assumed they were doing hoping for a chance of mating(?) I haven’t been able to identify them myself. Unfortunately, the picture isn’t very clear (it was windy and rainy).
Signature: Thanks, Leanna

Blister Beetles
Blister Beetles

Dear Leanna,
Thanks for the compliment.  We have been on holiday, hence the delay in our response.  Though your image is extremely blurry, we thought these resembled Blister Beetles, and we found this image on FlickR of a similarly colored and marked Blister Beetle from Morocco identified as being in the genus
Mylabris.  A similarly colored individual from India, also on FlickR, is identified as Mylabris pustulata.  The posting provides this information:  “Blister beetles are beetles (Coleoptera) of the family Meloidae, so called for their defensive secretion of a blistering agent, cantharidin, a chemical that causes blistering on human skin. The black and red stripes on the beetle’s body warn predators that it is poisonous.”

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