Currently viewing the category: "Blister Beetles"
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What kind of beatle is this?
This picture was sent to me by a freind who is doing a Bald Eagle study near Needles Eye of the Gila river in Arizona.
Thanks,
Mike

Hi Mike,
We were unsure so we contacted Eric Eaton. He also wanted to be positive, and he wrote back: “I queried Dr. Carl Olson at the U of Arizona, and he suggests it is most likely a blister beetle, MAYBE Lytta viridana. Meloids were on my short list also, so you can draw your own conclusions. Thanks.
Eric”
So while we are not 100% positive, I hope this helps. The common name for this beetle is the Caragana Blister Beetle.

Thanks, I will check with Carl Olsen myself too. I used to date one of his students and forgot all about it. I have thousands of bug pictures I need to get identified. If I get the time to sort them out I will send them in. I am out in the field most every weekend and about 3 times durring the week looking for herps. If ya all need any pictures let me know.
Mike Everett
Tucson Az

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

2 Shiny Black Bugs (Pic included)
Dear Bugman,
Before you view the picture…I have to apologize. I fear I did not see them till it was too late. On top of that…it looks like they were enjoying one of the finer things in life right before I took it. I am really sorry. But I’m still curios as to what they are. I’m 25, and have lived in Pennsauken all my life, but never seen anything like them.
They have what seem to be wings (or maybey they’re just the shell covering the real wings)…a shiny black carapace with a hint of turquois. Their Antennae are segmented. (I know there is a significant difference between Segmented and smooth antenna…but I forgot what) I didn’t get a frontal shot… But their mouth-parts didn’t have any substantial mandibles. The mouth-parts resembled that of a common grasshopper…for lack of appropriate term. This picture was taken in Pennsauken, New Jersey…about a 20 min drive from Philadelphia, PA. Again, I apologize for their demise. It was not intentional. Hope you can shed a little light on it.
Thanks in advance,
Russ

Hi Russ,
You have an awesome photo of a pair of Oil Beetles who met a tragic end while procreating. Another common name is Short Winged Blister Beetle, Meloe angusticollis. The beetle is found in Southern Canada and the Northern United States. It is usually found in crop fields and meadows where it eats herbaceous foliage being particularly fond of potatoes. If disturbed, the beetle feigns death by falling on its side. The leg joints exude droplets of liquid that cause blisters.

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spooky bug
Hi,
Found this menacing looking bug at our front door in southern Vermont. The head was turning side to side, with the pinchers (?) open. It was about 1 1/2″ long. Attached are a few pictures.
Regards,
Jason Chastain

Hi Jason,
You have some good reason to call the Oil Beetle spooky. Another common name is Short Winged Blister Beetle, Meloe angusticollis. I believe you may have exaggerated the size, but the beetle is found in Southern Canada and the Northern United States. It is usually found in crop fields and meadows where it eats herbaceous foliage being particularly fond of potatoes. If disturbed, the beetle feigns death by falling on its side. The leg joints exude droplets of liquid that cause blisters.

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and something else I dont know what it is…
AWESOME site!
The other I have no clue what it is. It was taken on the shore of Lake Michigan at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore…there were hundreds of these hanging around. Any idea?
Josh in Detroit

Hi Josh,
One of our beetle experts Dan, says this looks to be one of the Meloid Blister Beetles. The genus is Epicauta, the species indeterminate. The family includes the European Beetle that is used to make the aphrodesiac Spanish Fly.

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Hi. Recently my son found this beautiful bug near our house in Glendale, AZ. I’m attaching a picture. It has a bright red head, and it’s back is yellow with a black pattern dividing it into 4 parts. It’s the first and only time we’ve seen one.
Any idea?
Thanks–
Wes

Ironcross Blister Beetle

Ironcross Blister Beetle

Dear Wes,
I contacted our sources at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, and he provided the following information.

Thanks for sending the beetle photo. It is in the Blister Beetle family: Meloidae. You can probably look it up on the internet…try under the genus name Lytta. Some of these beetles exude a toxic liquid which can cause blisters on the skin. I’m not sure this one does that.
Hope this helps you!
Take care. Brian Harris
Entomology Section
Natural History Museum LA Co.

A web search did not turn up a more exact identification, but there is this site which has a photo of a close relative Lytta magister http://www.solpugid.com/gallery/Gallery3.htm which also has a red head and legs. I do have some interesting background information on the genus however. A blue-green colored European relative Lytta vesicatoria, is known by the common name Spanish fly: Perhaps the most famous `aphrodisiac’ of folk lore is `Spanish Fly’ made from the dried beetle _Cantharis_ (Lytta) _vesicatoria_, which is widely found in areas of southern Europe. The active ingredient of the prepared insect is cantharidin, and the powdered product contains around 0.6 percent of the substance. Sometimes a tincture of cantharidin is made, and the fatal dose is usually reckoned at 1.5 to 3 grams of the powder, or about 200 millilitres of the tincture. I have not given up entirely on the identification. I will be making a trip to the insect museum in Riverside in the near future. Thanks again for the awesome photo which is currently on my desktop at work.
Have a great day.
Daniel

Editor’s Note: Continued research has identified this little beauty as a member of the Blister Beetle Family known as Soldier Beetles, Tegrodera erosa Lec. or Tegrodera latecincta Horn. “They are 17-30 mm. long; the head red; the prothorax dusky red; the antennae, legs, and remainder of the body shining black; and the elytra golden yellow, reticulated, and with black margins, a black median belt, and black apices. In the former specioes the black markings of the elytra are very obscure, while on the latter they are strongly pronounced. The beetles ordinarily feed upon the native sage brush, artemisia, and other plants, but frequently invade alfalfa fields and do much damage.” according to Essig in Insects and Mites of Western North America.

Update: (11/09/2008)
After doing our site migration and checking that everything migrated, we found this posting that was never correctly identified as an Iron Cross Blister Beetle

Another Iron Cross Blister Beetle
We have Hundreds maybe Thousands on the ground and
all over our house. Please help us as my 6 and 4 year olds are scared and me too!
aceman

Iron Cross Blister Beetle

Iron Cross Blister Beetle

We were unable to anwer this reader who should be somewhat afraid of Blister Beetles which can cause a skin reaction.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination