Spanish fly(redirected from Cantharide)
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Spanish fly:see blister beetleblister beetle,
common name for certain soft-bodied, usually black or brown, mostly elongate and cylindrical beetles belonging to the family Meloidae. Blister beetles are common insects found feeding on the flowers and foliage of various plants. Occasionally some, e.g.
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(Lytta vesicatoria), a beetle of the family Meloidae (seeMELOIDAE). The body length is 12–20 mm. The coloration is golden green. The Spanish fly is distributed in Europe and Asia. It flies on hot days in May through July; it emits a sharp, unpleasant odor. It eats the leaves of trees and shrubs, and in large numbers causes considerable damage. It deposits its eggs in the ground; the hatched larvae crawl onto flowers, from where wild bees transport them on their bodies to their own nests. The larvae eat the bees’ eggs and the honey in the honeycomb cells, then leave the nests and metamorphose into pseudopupae, which winter in the ground.
The hemolymph and sexual organs of Spanish flies contain a toxic substance called cantharidin. Dried Spanish flies were used to prepare vesicatory plasters.