Oil Beetle

Subject:  Black iridescent possum beetlely bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Central Michigan
Date: 10/10/2017
Time: 05:56 PM EDT
My cat found this one.  If you mess with it, it plays possum. The pictures don’t do the iridescence justice- it’s a subtle blue.
How you want your letter signed:  Curious in MI

Oil Beetle

Dear Curious in MI,
This is a Blister Beetle in the genus
Meloe, commonly called an Oil Beetle.  According to BugGuide:  “the common name refers to the habit of exuding yellowish oily liquid from the joints when molested” but we have always speculated that Oil Beetle might be a reference to the iridescence you noticed, because it does look like a thin layer of oil on the surface of water.

Photo of author


BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. WhatsThatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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