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  • Blister Beetle - (Lytta aenea)

    Blister Beetle - (Lytta aenea)

    You can look, but don't touch a Blister Beetle.

    Picture of Blister Beetle
    Staff Writer (6/21/2016): Blister Beetles are members of the family Melodiae. If squeezed, they eject a chemical toxin called cantharidin that is a skin irritant to humans. Tissue that comes into contact with this irritant swells into a painful blister. Its effectiveness at destroying skin tissue is proved by its use as an ingredient in some wart removal products. It is primarily used as a defense mechanism against predators, but the beetle will use it when under perceived threat.

    This species of Blister Beetle has a three-segmented body made up of mostly black with reddish-brown legs. Its 'knee caps' are black. The head is slightly larger than prothorax (shoulders), but abdomen is the longest part of the body. Antennae are relatively short and ridged. Wings fold back and appear as almost like an armor-plating that runs across the abdomen.

    Adult Blister Beetles can be found on apple trees and other similar plants. The larvae are parasites to solitary bees like the Augochlora Sweat Bee. It will jump onto a passing bee, stowaway to the bee's lair and then feed on bee eggs and bee larvae that are there. After the beetle pupates, it makes its way out of the lair.

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    Details of the:
    Blister Beetle

    Category: Beetle
    Common name: Blister Beetle
    Scientific Name: Lytta aenea

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Coleoptera
          Family: Meloidae
           Genus: Lytta
            Species: aenea

    Size (Adult, Length): 9mm to 15mm (0.35in to 0.59in)

    Identifying Colors: black; red; brown

    Additional Descriptors: legs, knees, harmful

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Idaho; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Mexico; Oregon; Texas; Utah; Washington; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; Ontario; Saskatchewan; Mexico

    * 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.

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