15 October 2018

Blister Beetle – Wadi Grosbeak

The Blister Beetles (Coleoptera: Meloidae) are global distributed insects except for New Zealand and the Antarctic region and are also called Oil Beetles. The species seen near Bani Saad was Mylabris calida that has a distribution in central Asia (east to China and Korea), Caucasus and Transcaucasia, southern Balkan Peninsula, Near East, Levant and Arabian Peninsula and northern Africa. The insect was common in the area where we saw them always on flowering plants. Adult beetles can be recognized by morphological characteristics such as soft body, bright coloration, rather elongate, head deflexed with narrow neck, pronotum not carinate at sides, heteromerous tarsi, smooth integument. The bodily fluids of blister beetles contain the skin irritant cantharadin, giving the family its common name. It is possible that cantharadin acts as a protection against accidental beetle consumption by large herbivores, as some animals will avoid grazing on vegetation supporting large numbers of orange, red, or otherwise brightly colored blister beetles.