blister beetle

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blister 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., potato beetlespotato beetle,
name for two beetles of the leaf beetle family and for two of the blister beetle family, all destructive to the potato plant and its relatives. Most notorious is the Colorado potato beetle, or potato bug (Leptinotarsa decemlineata
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, become serious defoliating pests of potatoes, tomatoes, beets, asters, and other crops and flowers. The larvae are predacious or parasitic, feeding on the eggs of grasshoppers and of bees. Blister beetles undergo hypermetamorphosis, a complex life cycle with several different larval forms. The first of the six larval stages, called a triungulin, is a minute, active, and long-legged form that seeks out the host's nest; the following stages are grublike. Adults emerge in midsummer. One group of blister beetles has body fluids that contain cantharadin, a substance that can cause the skin to blister, from which the family gets its name. The Spanish fly (Lytta vesicatoria), a bright green or bluish blister beetle, is a common S European species from which cantharides are extracted and commercially prepared by crushing the wing covers (elytra) of the adults. This quite poisonous chemical is used medicinally as a skin irritant (in plasters), a diuretic, and an aphrodisiac. The lethal dosage for man is about .03 grams. Another group of meloid beetles has no cantharadin and is sometimes called the oil beetles because of the oily substance they secrete as protection against predators. Blister and oil beetles may be brushed into pans of kerosene or killed with systemic poisons or contact insecticides. Blister beetles are classified in the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
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, class Insecta, order Coleoptera, family Meloidae.
References in periodicals archive ?
Featured creature: false blister beetles [University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences web site].
At that time, no Meloid blister beetles or Paederus beetles had been collected and linked to cases of dermatitis occurring among Soldiers in Iraq.
Cantharidin levels in blister beetles (Coleoptera: Meloidae) associated with alfalfa in Colorado.
Blister beetles commonly feed on alfalfa and the flowers of various plants that frequently grow in hay fields.
Bionomics, systematics, and phylogeny of Lytta, a genus of blister beetles (Coleoptera, Meloidae).
Blister beetles secret a fluid known as cantharidin, which for centuries, has been used for various medicinal purposes.
The blister beetle species Meloe franciscanus and the host bees meet in the dunes of southwestern U.
Some gardeners grow calendulas as a trap crop, or you can skip over a few pigweeds (Amaranthus species) when weeding and let them serve as blister beetle magnets.
COUNTRYSIDE: I once had a terrible plague of blister beetles on my Irish potato vines--they looked black when you looked down the row.
Sure enough, a swarm of blister beetles was crawling through the alfalfa.