Hungry Blister bug (do not touch!)
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|Found her today in my yard and found out what it is thanks to bugguide visual Id gallery for Coleoptera(which you can use or help expand because it's made by volunteers, thank you enthusiasts for helping me learn about this world around me!)|
Blister bug - Meloe sp. my guess is female 1.3 cm long
The family Meloidae, blister beetles, contains about 2500 species, divided among 80 genera and three subfamilies.They secrete cantharidin,a poisonous chemical causing blistering of the skin and painful swelling if consumed.It is used medically to remove warts,and is collected from species of the genera Mylabris and Lytta, especially Lytta vesicatoria, better known as Spanish fly.When an adult beetle is pressed or rubbed blisters commonly occur on the neck and arms, adult beetles are attracted to outdoor lights at night.General handling of adults seldom results in blistering unless the hemolymph contacts the relatively thin skin between the fingers.Medical treatment beyond first aid for blistering probably not necessary.
The blistering agent is cantharidin odorless terpene (exo-1,2-cis-dimethyl-3,6-ep- oxyhexahydro-phthalic anhydride) occurring elsewhere only in beetles family Oedemeridae.Dried, pulverized bodies of adult beetles were once employed in human and veterinary medicine, primarily as vesicant and irritant and is still used in the U.S. as the active ingredient in a proprietary wart remover.Taken internally or absorbed through the skin, cantharidin is highly toxic to mammals.There is literature dealing with its reputed aphrodisiacal properties and numerous reports of human poisonings, both accidental and deliberate.Cantharides is sometimes specified as the Eurasian Spanishfly,however, other genera, particularly Mylabris and Epicauta, have been more commonly used, especially for extraction.It is widely assumed that cantharidin is chemical protection from predators, but there is little evidence for this.In some species, females receive large quantities of cantharidin from males during copulation.Females incorporate the material in a coating applied to the eggs.Adult beetles are phytophagous, feeding especially on plants in the families Amaranthaceae, Compositae, Leguminosae, and Solanaceae.Most adults eat only floral parts, but some eat leaves as well. A few adults are nocturnal; most are diurnal.Since adults are gregarious and often highly colored, they tend to be conspicuous. However, except for first instar larvae (triungulins) frequenting flowers or clinging to adult bees, larval blister beetles are seldom seen. So far as known, all larvae are specialized predators. Larvae of most genera enter the nests of wild bees, where they consume both immature bees and the provisions of one or more cells. Those of some Meloinae, including most Epicauta spp., prey on the eggs of acridid grasshoppers. A few larvae evidently prey on the eggs of blister beetles.
nglen, cicindela, Alex99 ha puntuado esta nota como útil.
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Hi Tanja, splendid bug with lovely details and wonderful colors, very well done, have a nice week end, ciao Silvio
- [2007-03-30 16:15]
yes, this is a large Meloe species with its typical blue metallic surface. You show the specimen highly magnified so that details are seen. Light is well managed, too. However, one can also recognize the limit of resolution. So, a lower magnification or cropping would have been advantageous. It's an act of balance to find the optimal compromise between magnification and clarity.
Best wishes, Peter
- [2007-03-30 16:41]
Hi Tanja, great picture lot of detail and great colour. you can see the pollen on his legs and back. well done..
Meloidae species are really interesting family, and not easy to photograph. They are shiny, convex, and not so slow even if they look for such beetles :)
The quality of picture is not perfect but together with not in it an informative presentation :)
PS. A few day ago I presented on TN a photo of Meloe proscarabaeus. PLease feel free to compare your picture with "my" species :)
Well composed, the black bug stands out very well against the yellow flower - good detail of the wee bits of pollen as well.
Nice shot and a good note, well done!
- [2007-03-31 6:35]
I like your photo of this monster. It looks great of small bright flower. Colour palette of the shot, level of the detail reproduction and DOF are perfect. My compliments and TFS.