Megetra cancellata (Megetra cancellata)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Megetra cancellata, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 9/4/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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. Megetra cancellata 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.
Megetra cancellata is native to the arid Southwest U.S. as well as Mexico. It is a soft-bodied beetle (don't touch them yourself 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.