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Margined Blister Beetle (Epicauta funebris)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Margined Blister Beetle

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Image Credit: Tim, taken on the Appalachian Trail, PA
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Image Credit: Tim G. from PA
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Image Credit: Tim, taken on the Appalachian Trail, PA
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Image Credit: Lisa J. from Cordes Lake, AZ
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The Margined Blister Beetle is as black as night, which showcases a thin white line that runs down the middle of the elytra.

Updated: 08/06/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Slender and somewhat plain, the Margined Blister Beetle is a matte black with a pale white line running down the center of the body. Flat mouth parts and a square-shaped head are connected to the abdomen and wings by a narrow neck. Antennae and long legs are black.

The Margined Blister Beetle can secrete a chemical called cantharidin when threatened or smashed. This secretion causes blisters to human skin and can injure an insect predator. This beetle feeds on plant tissue so contact with potential enemies is likely for those working in crop fields and backyard gardens. They are able to fly and sometimes land on arms or necks where they are swatted at or even crushed, releasing the blistering agent. Blisters may form immediately and continue to grow in size and redness throughout the day. Look for Margined Blister Beetles on the leaves and fruit of tomato, beet, eggplant, potato, and alfalfa plants. It can become a garden pest in large numbers when chances of encountering them increase. Handling individuals is best avoided.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Burning icon
Flying insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Meloidae
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          Genus: Epicauta
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            Species: funebris

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Epicauta funebris
Other Name(s): Ebony Blister Beetle
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 12mm to 17mm (0.47" to 0.66")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; white; gray
Descriptors: line; center; middle; flying; secretion; burn

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 12mm (0.5in) and 17mm (0.7in)
Lo: 12mm
Md: 14.5mm
Hi: 17mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Margined Blister Beetle may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Margined Blister Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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