Blister Beetle

Hycleus sp?

A Blister Beetle, f. Meloidae from West Pokot, Kenya. Photo © by Michael Plagens

Along the Kacheliba Road on the Elgeyo Escarpment, West Pokot, Kenya, July 2014. J. Rolcik and R. Westerduijn provided identification.

Blister Beetles are among the most fascinating of insects. There name derives from the effect of their hemolymph (insect blood) on the skin. Normally this is an effective defense on the part of the beetle. Indeed the conspicuous coloration of many species advertizes this chemical weapon.

The immature stage of blister beetles is a parasitic grub that lives in the soil within an egg chamber of grasshoppers or bees, depending on the species. Adult beetles eat flowers or leaves of plants; if abundant the gardener will sometimes take notice. If a horse inadvertantly swallows a blister beetle, the consequence can often be very serious illness or death due to the poisons within the beetle's body.

Meloidae -- Blister Beetle Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 29 May 2015.