Oil Beetle (Meloe spp)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Oil Beetle, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 1/16/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
An Oil Beetle may seem like an ordinary black garden bug but it has a secret weapon making it capable of blistering human skin.
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.