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Iron Cross Blister Beetle (Tegrodera aloga)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Iron Cross Blister Beetle.

 Updated: 1/28/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Native to the Sonoran desert, the Iron Cross Blister Beetle is dangerous to touch and poisonous to eat, making it hazardous to people, pets and livestock.



Having body colors akin to a wasp, the bright yellow network of veins covering black elytra act as warning colors. WIth a bright, red head, the Iron Cross Blister Beetle gives off a bonafide visual alarm. A toxic chemical called cantharidin is secreted from the legs and antennae of an Iron Cross Beetle when handled or touched, which causes painful blisters on human skin as well as on animals. If eaten in enough quantities, it can kill. While most people would refrain from eating beetles, this insect is sometimes unwittingly consumed by horses and livestock feeding on the plants where the beetle is eating, causing death. Pets may also try to eat them. This same chemical has been used medicinally to kill and remove warts, so in a clinical sense, it is helpful to people, too.

A black cross is visible on the wings thanks to a separation of the yellow color on the wings at the midline as well as at the center of the elytra. This species eats native wildflowers and herbs as well as the leaves of crop plants like alfalfa, potatoes, beans, and clover. This agricultural diet increases the likelihood of a human encounter in the field. Adults are active in the day, and sometimes at night, and it is usually seen meandering on the ground or feeding on a plant, many times with others.

If seen, avoid contact with the Iron Cross Beetle and keep a wary eye for others that may be nearby.





Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Meloidae
          Genus: Tegrodera
            Species: aloga
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Tegrodera aloga
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 14mm to 26mm (0.55in to 1.01in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, orange, yellow, red
Descriptors: nerves, veins, lace, wings, head, blister, pain, dangerous, poisonous, harmful, flying
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
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
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
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.




Beetle Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American Beetle insect
1
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
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Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
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Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
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Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
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Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
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Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.