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Gray Blister Beetle

Epicauta sp.


A female Epicauta blister beetle photo © by Mike Plagens

This blister beetle is feeding on pollen of Desert Broom (Baccharis sarothroides). Observed at Bumblebee, Yavapai Co., Arizona, USA. 23 October 2012.

Meloidae -- Blister Beetle Family

Within the beetle family Meloidae, the genus Epicauta is a very large one and many of the species can be identified only by a specialist with a good microscope. Many of the species are ashy gray in color, but others have spots or stripes. As adults these beetles feed on flower pollen or fresh leaves. The immature grub is a parasitoid of bee or grasshopper nests in the soil. The haemolymph (insect version of blood) contains toxic cantharidins that can cause pain and illness if injested.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 24 December 2012.