Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
June 8, 2015 4:46 pm
Our biology class did a lab at one of the beaches in Nova Scotia, Canada. Well doing this lab our group found this small black and reddish brown bug well we were examining a part of the beach.
Signature: – Bio Student
Dear Bio Student,
Your insect is unmistakably a Rove Beetle in the genus Paederus, and according to BugGuide: “some species contain a toxic chemical (pederin) in their hemolymph which causes contact dermatitis in humans, usually as a result of slapping the beetle and crushing it against exposed skin. The affected area becomes red, swollen, and itchy, causing the skin to peel when scratched.(3) Extracts of Paederus beetles have been used by the Chinese since at least 739 AD in the medicinal treatment of boils, nasal polyps, and ringworm.” BugGuide also indicates: “15 spp. in our area, >600 worldwide(1), just one (P. littorarius) reaches Canada” which would mean your species is Paederus littorarius. The genus has representatives in many places around the world, and those in Africa are known as Creechies or Acid Bugs because of the caustic chemical they release and the contact dermatitis that results.