Oil Beetle

Subject: American Oil Beetle?
Location: Hamilton Ontario
October 24, 2015 9:41 pm
Hello Bugman,
I’ve got another find for you! I think this is an American Oil Beetle, but it seems a good deal larger than the description I read. This guy was hanging out inside our museum for a day or two before I rescued him. He looked dull black indoors but once I got him out in the sunshine I could see he had a beautiful greenish sheen on him. Didn’t know what his preferred host plant was, so I hope he found something to eat! (& a warm place to hide!)
Signature: Alison

Oil Beetle
Oil Beetle

Dear Alison,
We don’t mean to alarm you, but you should exercise caution when handling any of the Blister Beetles in the family Meloidae as members of the family secrete a compound called cantharidin that is known to cause blistering in human skin.  Regarding Oil Beetles in the genus
Meloe, according to the University of Connecticut Home & Garden Education Center page:  “The adults feed on grass and  several leafy weeds and flowers. ”  Though The Smaller Majority site has a fascinating overview of the life cycle of the Oil Beetle, nothing is mentioned about adult food preferences.

Yikes! Thanks for letting me know. I’m glad she was in a good enough mood that no one got hurt! Will exercise caution in the future when handling unknown insects. Thank you for your time!
Alison Innes

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