Currently viewing the category: "Blister Beetles"

Subject:  Black beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Southwest New Mexico
Date: 09/21/2021
Time: 11:03 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found these insects while hiking in the Gila National Forest, Saddle Rock Canyon; 10 miles NW of Silver City. There were hundreds of them on the desert willows – many were mating on the trees. I apologize for the fuzzy image. I hope it’s clear enough for an identification.
How you want your letter signed:  Karen Nakakihara

Black Blister Beetle

Dear Karen,
This is a Black Blister Beetle,
Epicauta pensylvanica, and like many Blister Beetles, they appear seasonally in great numbers for a short period of time each year, with some years seeing far greater numbers.  According to BugGuide:  “Associated with Asteraceae, such as goldenrods and asters. May damage crops, such as beets, potatoes, tomatoes.”  The Black Blister Beetle is pictured on the New Mexico State University website.

Subject:  Lytta beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern Chihuahuan Desert
Date: 07/16/2021
Time: 08:11 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  I am an undergraduate at the University of New Mexico and I am currently working in a lab that studies ecological relationships. I am very interested in beetles and I am hoping to do research on them for my master’s. While out doing field work I came across this beautiful guy, I was able to determine that it belongs in the genus Lytta, but I am unable to identify a species. Any insight would be helpful and much appreciated!
How you want your letter signed:  Emily

Unidentified Blister Beetle

Dear Emily,
Blister Beetles are indeed fascinating.  This does appear to be a member of the genus Lytta, and it resembles the Master Blister Beetle, though it is lacking the red thorax.  The closest match we could find on BugGuide is the Red Eared Blister Beetle,
Lytta auriculata, but we are not convinced that is your species.  Your individual appears to have short, textured, green elytra.

Update:  July 20, 2021
Frequent contributor Cesar Crash from Insetologia believe this might be Eupompha fissiceps which is represented on BugGuide.

I was able to ID this guy as Eupompha fissiceps
Emily Grant

Subject:  Spotted Blister Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Tonasket WA
Date: 07/12/2021
Time: 10:20 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:
I’ve been pulling pigweed for 4 weeks and about 2 weeks ago this mass of beetles show up. Hundreds and hundreds, practically overnight.They don’t bite or sting or eat anything I’m trying to garden. I don’t bother them. 4-5 days ago, I’m weeding and my arm starts to itch drastically. I look at the spot, not a bump, not a rash, but a blister!.Still, no idea as to what. 3 days later, aha moment. Turns out blooming alfalfa and pigweed family are a favorite food of adult blister beetles. Get rid of it and the beetles will eat your garden. YAY! I don’t have to weed anymore! There are over 7,000 varieties. Average behavior, adults live about 3 months June to Aug., lay eggs in the dirt, and the larvae spend the rest of summer, fall, winter and spring eating grasshopper eggs, (sometimes bees if they can find them) and hibernating (? is that the word?) The blister is truly awe inspiring. And, purportedly, 6 grams of dead crushed dried beetles in one serving of alfalfa hay eaten by a horse can kill the horse. Wild Birds find them delicious, (I read). The blistering agent survives to irritate the entire digestive tract in most mammals. They usually survive, but may get sick. I’ve been seeing grasshoppers, so maybe the beetles know something about the future I don’t. They don’t bother me and they eat grasshopper eggs and pigweed! Yay, go blister beetle.
How you want your letter signed:  Cathy

Spotted Blister Beetles

Dear Cathy,
We love, love, love your submission.  It is awesome that you have done so much research in the effort to make your gardening more labor efficient.  Blister Beetles (including the Spotted Blister Beetle,
Epicauta maculata, which is pictured on BugGuide) do have interesting and complex life styles, and many members of the family are able to excrete the compound cantharadin which can cause blistering in human skin and is also the active component in the alleged aphrodisiac Spanish Fly which is made from the ground bodies of a green European Blister Beetle, Lytta vesicatoria.

Subject:  Texas beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Big Bend N.P.
Date: 04/14/2021
Time: 05:36 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you identify these beetles found feeding on Lupine?
How you want your letter signed:  H2oggre

Blister Beetle: Lytta cribrata

Dear H2oggre,
Thanks for sending multiple camera angles of your Blister Beetle in the family Meloidae.  We believe based on this BugGuide image that it is Lytta cribrata, but we would not rule out a different species in the genus.  It is described on BugGuide as: “Pronotoum black at center, broadly orange at sides; head with a diamond-shaped orange frontal spot” and its range is listed as:  “sw. TX (Chinati Mts and Eagle Pass), Mexico (Chihuahua, Durango).”  Does that match your location in Texas?

Blister Beetle: Lytta cribrata

Thank you Daniel.
Yes it does match Chihuahuan desert area. I need to look up what the “Pronotoum” is, though. If is the center “thorax section” [before the black section with its wings; yet behind the red and black section with its eyes and antennae] that fits the description. It certainly matched the color markings if that is what I think the pronotoum is.
The lobed antennae seemed to me rather distinctive as does the y-shaped pincer tipped legs. Any mention of those in the description of Lytta cribrate?
Plus the wings are very textured. That is not dew on the surface.
I really appreciate your help Daniel.
Richard Todd

Blister Beetle: Lytta cribrata

Good morning Richard.  The Pronotum is defined on BugGuide as:  ” the upper surface of the prothorax, the first segment of the thorax. Shape of the pronotum is often important in identification of beetles, and many other groups.”  While Coleopterists, entomologists who specialize in Beetles, have an extensive vocabulary of terms they use to describe characteristics, we believe punctate, which is defined on BugGuide as “marked by spots, dots, points, depressions, or punctures” could be used to describe the texture of the elytra or wing covers on the Blister Beetles you observed.

Subject:  Blue beetle?
Geographic location of the bug:  West Virginia
Date: 04/05/2021
Time: 08:09 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What is this guy?!
How you want your letter signed:  Marion Sophia

Oil Beetle

Dear Marion,
This is a Blister Beetle in the genus
Meloe commonly called an Oil Beetle.  According to BugGuide, there are 22 North American species and we do not have the required qualifications to provide you with a species.  We do know that some species are found in the spring and others in the fall.

Subject:  Found beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Golden Shores AZ
Date: 03/28/2020
Time: 12:39 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’d like to know what kind of beetle this is
How you want your letter signed:  Please and thank you

Inflated Beetle

We have identified your beetle, Cysteodemus armatus, on BugGuide.  It is commonly called a Desert Spider Beetle or an Inflated Beetle.