The red and black coloring should serve as a warning against touching this caustic Blister Beetle.
As a member of the Blister Beetle family, Meloidae, this southwest species has the ability to give handlers great pain for their trouble. The Black and Red Blister Beetle can secrete, or leak, a caustic chemical called cantharidin from its body when under threat that greatly irritates human skin as well as insect predators. The effects of contact result in painful blisters.
The Black and Red Blister Beetle is native to the arid Southwest U.S. as well as Mexico. It is a soft-bodied beetle (please don't touch them to make sure) that likely feeds on the nectar and juices of native plants in their range. Some members of this family parasitize the eggs of grasshoppers, but little research has been published regarding this particular species' diet and life cycle.
Scientific Name: Megetra cancellata
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 15mm (0.39in to 0.59in)
Note: 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 as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.