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  • Iron Cross Blister Beetle - (Tegrodera aloga)

    Iron Cross Blister Beetle - (Tegrodera aloga)

    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.

    Picture of Iron Cross Blister Beetle
    Staff Writer (8/29/2017): The bright yellow network covering black elytra are warning colors themselves. Add the red head to the overall appearance of the Iron Cross Blister Beetle and it becomes a bonafide alarm. A parting of the yellow at the midline and in the center of the elytra form a black cross. 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.

    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 present, causing death. Pets may also try to eat them. This same chemical has been used medicinally to kill and remove warts, so it helpful to people, too.

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

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    Details of the:
    Iron Cross Blister Beetle

    Category: Beetle
    Common name: Iron Cross Blister Beetle
    Scientific Name: Tegrodera aloga

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Coleoptera
          Family: Meloidae
           Genus: Tegrodera
            Species: aloga

    Size (Adult, Length): 14mm to 26mm (0.55in to 1.02in)

    Identifying Colors: black, orange, yellow, red

    Additional Descriptors: nerves, veins, lace, wings, head, blister, pain, dangerous, poisonous, harmful, flying

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Arizona; California; 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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