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  • Oil Beetle - (Meloe spp)

    Oil Beetle - (Meloe spp)

    An Oil Beetle may seem like an ordinary black garden bug but it has a secret weapon making it capable of blistering human skin.

    Staff Writer (1/16/2017): Oil Beetles are a type of Blister Beetle. This group of beetles can secrete a caustic chemical called cantharidin from their abdomen. The toxicity of this chemical is great enough to irritate human skin and cause the formation of painful blisters. It is typically used whenever the beetle feels threatened or mishandled. This is a species best looked at, but not touched.

    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.

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    Details of the:
    Oil Beetle

    Category: Beetle
    Common name: Oil Beetle
    Scientific Name: Meloe spp

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Coleoptera
          Family: Meloidae
           Genus: Meloe
            Species: spp

    Size (Adult, Length): 6mm to 16mm (0.24in to 0.63in)

    Identifying Colors: black

    Additional Descriptors: flying, blisters, shiny, soft

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; 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; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; 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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