Blister Beetle


Zonitis Blister Beetle photo by Michael Plagens Zonitis Blister Beetle photo by Michael Plagens

These two Blister Beetles were found together within the same Yucca baccata flower suggesting that they are color morphs of the same species. McDowell Mts., Maricopa County, Arizona, USA. 5 April 2016.

Meloidae, or Blister Beetles, are common insects found on flowers especially during spring in the Sonoran Desert. They feed on the petals and pollen as adults but live an entirely different life as immature larvae. The adults tend to have bright, aposomatic coloration set off by black. This is a warning that these beetles often contain noxious or poisonous compounds; birds and other insectivores tend to avoid meloids.

The larvae are parasitic in the nests of ground nesting bees or other ground nesting insects. The tiny, first stage larvae are mobile and seek out a suitable host. Once they attach to a host they become immobile drawing sustenance as they grow.

Zonitis, one genus of Meloidae, has many described species that are difficult to separate. Some are difficult to distinguish from the related genus Nemognatha.

Meloidae -- Blister Beetle Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 11 May 2017.