Currently viewing the category: "Blister Beetles"

Subject:  What is this
Geographic location of the bug:  Carlsbad, NM
Date: 05/26/2019
Time: 11:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  It flew away shortly after the photo.
How you want your letter signed:  Brent Griffith

Blister Beetle

Dear Brent,
This is a Blister Beetle in the genus
Pyrata, but it does not appear to be the similar looking Charlie Brown Blister Beetle.  According to BugGuide:  “27 spp. in our area.”

Subject:  Green blister bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Isle of Wight, UK
Date: 05/25/2019
Time: 02:17 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, found this bug near Orchard Bay on the Isle of Wight in England. From googling it looks like a green blister bug, but they don’t seem like they’re in the UK?
How you want your letter signed:  Jack

Spanish Fly and Soft Winged Flower Beetle

Dear Jack,
This is a very exciting posting for us.  We believe your Blister Beetle is the true Spanish Fly,
Lytta vesicatoria, which is pictured on UK Beetle Recording with some southern sightings including the Isle of Wight.  According to NBN Atlas:  “Spanish fly is an emerald-green beetle, Lytta vesicatoria, in the blister beetle family (Meloidae). It and other such species were used in preparations offered by traditional apothecaries, often referred to as Cantharides or Spanish fly. The insect is the source of the terpenoid cantharidin, a toxic blistering agent once used as an aphrodisiac.”  GBIF has an interesting article.  We are very curious about the smaller beetle in your image, which though the coloration is the same, appears to be a different species.

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for getting back and helping identify the species in the photo, the links you included are interesting. There were more than just those 2, there were 10-15 of the smaller ones, all on the same flowers as in the picture. Took a photo of that one as it was the biggest by far, probably about 2 inches.
I didn’t think much of the size difference and just figured it was age/maturity, but am also intrigued having now looked at the life cycle of a beetle? Am I right in thinking they’d emerge from the pupa at their fully grown size?
Many Thanks,

Hi again Jack,
When insects including Beetles emerge from the pupa, they are fully grown.  Smaller individuals probably did not feed as well during the larval stage, hence the smaller size.
Update:  June 20, 2019
Thanks to a comment from Jim, we now know that the smaller beetle is a Soft Winged Flower Beetle in the family Dasyticidae:  Psilothrix viridicoeruleus.  There are images on UK Beetle Recording.

Subject:  What’s this beetle?
Geographic location of the bug:  Portland Oregon, sandy riverbank
Date: 04/27/2019
Time: 06:49 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This cute little fellow got us all wondering what species he might be. He was spotted on the bank of the Willamette river near the forest’s edge in April. Any idea? Thanks so much for any insight you might have!
How you want your letter signed:  Beetle Bystander

Inflated Beetle

Dear Beetle Bystander,
This is a Desert Spider Beetle or Inflated Beetle in the genus
Cysteodemus.  According to BugGuide, there are two species in North America and neither is reported from Oregon, and the range is listed as “sw. US: Colorado, Mojave, and Chihuahuan deserts.”  We are not certain how unusual this Oregon sighting is.

Subject:  Beetle, red, yellow, black
Geographic location of the bug:  Phoenix, AZ
Date: 04/30/2019
Time: 05:23 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Saw this in our back rose bed. Could not find anything like it online.
How you want your letter signed:  Puzzled in Phx

Iron Cross Blister Beetle

Dear Puzzled in Phx,
The first time we ever received an image of gaudily colored Iron Cross Blister Beetle, we thought we were looking at a toy bug.  They would seem to be right on time based on our posting five identification requests of Iron Cross Blister Beetles at the beginning of May 2010.  Populations of individuals will vary from year to year.

Subject:  Black beetle, red wings
Geographic location of the bug:  Guilford, CT
Date: 04/22/2019
Time: 08:58 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Could you tell me what this bug is? There are a number of them in our front (southern exposure) garden. I can’t find a good match online.
How you want your letter signed:  Abigail W.

Blister Beetle: Tricrania sanguinipennis

Dear Abigail,
Generally, when we receive an identification request, we have at least an idea to what family a creature belongs, which makes research easier, but in the case of this Beetle, we were not even sure of a family.  We turned to Arthur V. Evans excellent book Beetles of Eastern North America and we eventually identified your colorful beetle as a Blister Beetle in the family Meloidae,
Tricrania sanguinipennis, but it is very atypical looking for a Blister Beetle.  We located an image on BugGuide for comparison.  According to BugGuide, it is “A parasitoid of colonial bees, such as Colletes.” 

Thank you so much for replying! I’m glad to have provided a challenge. After contacting you, I remembered about our local agricultural station. They were also able to ID my beetle as the Tricrania. I’m guessing they are thoroughly enjoying my ground bees….
Abigail Wasserman.

Subject:  Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern California
Date: 03/25/2019
Time: 12:00 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I work as security at a school in 29 palms California and I saw this interesting beetle and tried to find out what it was but couldn’t. So here’s some pictures you tell me what it is. I don’t know
How you want your letter signed:  Clint Marshall

Master Blister Beetle

Dear Clint,
Thanks for writing back to us to inquire on the status of your identification request.  We went back through unanswered mail and located your stunning images of a Master Blister Beetle.  We posted our first images last week of the magnificent Master Blister Beetle, though in fact your images were submitted more than two weeks earlier.  Please excuse our lag time in responding.

Master Blister Beetle

Not a problem. This is the first time I have ever seen one of these in my 40 years plus living in 29 Palms. Thanks for replying. You can do what you want with the images.