Secretions from an Acrobat Beetle

Pinacate Beetle Secretions
November 10, 2011 11:14 pm
Do you know of anyone who has had the secretions from this beetle on their skin? What does it look like?  I suspect my daughter has been repeatedly sprayed by this beetle that was in her shoe, and she has a dark black area on 2 toes that will not wash off.
Signature: Lori Lindley

Acrobat Beetle

Dear Lori,
Since you did not attach a photo, we located a recent image from our archives of a Pinacate Beetle in the genus
Eleodes, also called an Acrobat Beetle or Desert Stink Beetle.  We have no knowledge that the malodorous secretion produced a chemical stain on skin, so we did some research.   According to the Exploring the Southwest Desert USA website:  “They are well known for their comical, yet effective, defense tactics. When alarmed they stand on their heads by bending their front legs down and extending their rear legs. Depending upon the species, they exude an oily, musty secretion, which collects at the tip of the abdomen or spreads over posterior parts of the body, or they eject the reddish brown to brown secretion as a spray. Larger desert species, like E. armata and E. longicollis, can spray 10 to 20 inches. Most species can spray multiple times, if necessary. The spray is not painful unless you get it in your eyes or mouth, where it is painful, burning and temporarily blinding. It does not wash off.”

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