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  • American Oil Beetle - (Meloe americanus)

    American Oil Beetle - (Meloe americanus)

    Look, but don't touch the seemingly simple and ordinary American Oil Beetle.




    Staff Writer (11/12/2014): American Oil Beetles are a type of Blister beetle. When threatened or put under pressure, they emit a chemical called cantharidin that creates blisters and irritates human skin.

    American Oil Beetles have a soft, yet stout abdomen with a shell covering that looks like a series of overlapping plates. The surface is slightly bumpy, not slick and smooth. Antennae are visible on the head. The insect can appear as a dull black or in some cases a shiny black or dark blue.

    These particular beetles do not fly and are slow movers. The larvae are devious. They sit on flowers, waiting for a bee to land. They latch onto the bee for a free ride back to the hive. Once there, the beetle larvae then feed on the bee larvae. Adults can be found walking around plants they eat, such as buttercups. They are active all year, but more so in the spring, when they are more likely to be seen.

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    Details of the:
    American Oil Beetle


    Category: Beetle
    Common name: American Oil Beetle
    Scientific Name: Meloe americanus

    Taxonomy:
      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Coleoptera
          Family: Meloidae
           Genus: Meloe
            Species: americanus

    Size (Adult, Length): 7mm to 17mm (0.28in to 0.67in)

    Identifying Colors: black; blue

    Additional Descriptors: black, rough, bumpy, harmful


    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arkansas; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Kansas; Louisiana; Maryland; Michigan; Mississippi; Nebraska; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin


    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.