An Oil Beetle may seem like an ordinary black garden bug, but its secret weapon can blister human skin and burn insect exoskeletons.
Oil Beetles are a type of Blister Beetle. This type of beetle can secrete a caustic chemical called cantharidin from its abdomen. The toxicity of this chemical is high enough to irritate human skin, causing redness, irritation, and the formation of painful blisters. It is typically used whenever the beetle feels threatened or mishandled. Because of this, Oil Beetles should not be picked up or handled.
It is completely black, with a matte sheen and an exposed abdomen. Wing coverings may be short and dimpled. Like other Blister Beetles, it is fond of flowers and may drink nectar as well as plant juices. It can be found on blossoms, tree trunks or stems, and in grass.
Scientific Name: Meloe spp
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 16mm (0.23in to 0.62in)
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.