www.zinnysworld.com       Copyright 2000-2016 by Thomas Zinneman.  All rights reserved.

Blister Beetles       Meloidae

The Blister Beetles, also known as Oil Beetles, get their name from oily secretions they can produce.  When molested, these beetles exude this liquid from its leg joints.  This liquid is both poisonous to mammals and an irritant that can cause blisters on human skin.

These beetles are found worldwide, except in New Zealand, primarily in warm, dry areas.  There are about 2500 different species.  In North America, 410 species have been recorded.  In Florida, only 26 species have been recorded.

Blister Beetles are large insects with average lengths between 0.5 inch and 1 inch.  They have a distinct neck between their head and thorax. The elytra are usually brightly colored  with red, yellow, or black stripes.

The adult beetles are slow moving plant eaters.  Most species feed on nectar, pollen, or the actual flower parts.  However, some species also feed on the leaves, damaging cultivated plants, such as alfalfa, beet, potato, and tomato.

The larvae are parasites of bees and grasshoppers.  Eggs are laid in the soil.  Then the mobile first-stage larvae locate and eat the eggs of grasshoppers or bees, also bee larvae.

The top two images show a Nemognatha sp on Tickseed.  The lower two images show an Epicauta sp on Tick seed and Black-eyed Susan.  All photos were taken in Deep Creek in Charlotte County.