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Black Blister Beetle (Epicauta pennsylvanica)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Black Blister Beetle, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 2/5/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Black Blister Beetle  
Picture of Black-Blister-Beetle

Blister Beetles can look ordinary and unassuming, but under duress, they can leave quite a mark on insects and humans alike.

Black Blister Beetles are black and have a glistening sheen on their head, pronotum and wing coverings. A bit of yellow hidden on the abdomen is the only additional color on this species. They can secrete a chemical that causes irritation, redness and, over time, blister formation on human skin. It is a defense mechanism intended to protect them from predators and other threats. This chemical also renders them somewhat distasteful, further aiding in their survival. The Black Blister Beetle is widespread across the continent and can be found on flowering plants, especially goldenrods and asters.

Black Blister Beetle Information

Category: Beetle
Common Name: Black Blister Beetle
Scientific Name: Epicauta pennsylvanica

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Coleoptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Meloidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Epicauta
       Arrow graphic Species: pennsylvanica

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 7 mm to 18 mm (0.273 inches to 0.702 inches)
Identifying Colors: black, yellow
Additional Descriptors: harmful, flying, matte, shiny, texture

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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