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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Blister beetles
Lytta aenea [1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Suborder: Polyphaga
Infraorder: Cucujiformia
Superfamily: Tenebrionoidea
Family: Meloidae
Gyllenhal, 1810
Subfamilies

Eleticinae
Meloinae
Nemognathinae
Tetraonycinae

Blister beetles are beetles (Coleoptera) of the family Meloidae, so called for their defensive secretion of a blistering agent, cantharidin. There are approximately 7,500 known species worldwide. Many are conspicuous and some aposematically colored, announcing their toxicity to would-be predators.

Contents

Description

Cantharidin is a poisonous chemical causing blistering of the skin. Cantharidin is used medically to remove warts[2] and is collected for this purpose from species of the genera Mylabris and Lytta, especially Lytta vesicatoria, better known as "Spanish fly".

Blister beetles are hypermetamorphic, going through several larval stages, the first of which is typically a mobile triungulin. The larvae are insectivorous, mainly attacking bees, though a few feed on grasshopper eggs; while sometimes considered parasitoids, it appears that in general, the meloid larva consumes the immature host along with its provisions, and can often survive on the provisions alone, thus they are not obligatory parasitoids but rather food parasites that are facultatively parasitoid, or simply predatory. The adults sometimes feed on flowers and leaves of plants of such diverse families like Amaranthaceae, Asteraceae, Fabaceae, and Solanaceae.

Toxicity

The blister beetle genus Epicauta is highly toxic to horses. A few beetles consumed in a single feeding of alfalfa hay may be lethal[3]. Poisonings have also been reported after use of "Spanish fly"-type folk medicines, and after handling blister beetle individuals. The toxic chemical is cantharidin.

Systematics

Subfamily Eleticinae

Tribe Derideini

  • Anthicoxenus
  • Deridea
  • Iselma
  • Iselmeletica55

Tribe Morphozonitini

  • Ceriselma
  • Morphozonitis
  • Steniselma

Tribe Eleticini

  • Eletica

Tribe Spasticini

  • Eospasta
  • Protomeloe
  • Spastica
  • Xenospasta

Subfamily Meloinae

Black Blister Beetle, Epicauta pennsylvanica (Meloinae: Epicautini)

Tribe Cerocomini

  • Anisarthrocera
  • Cerocoma
  • Diaphorocera
  • Rhampholyssa
  • Rhampholyssodes

Tribe Epicautini

  • Denierella
  • Epicauta
  • Linsleya
  • Psalydolytta

Tribe Eupomphini

  • Cordylospasta
  • Cysteodemus
  • Eupompha
  • Megetra
  • Phodaga
  • Pleropasta
  • Tegrodera
Blister beetles like this Lytta vesicatoria (Meloinae: Lyttini) can be safely handled, provided the animal is not startled, and allowed to move around freely. Otherwise, painful poisonings may occur.
Meloe violaceus (Meloinae: Meloini). Note drop of dark orange defensive fluid on thorax.
Mylabris quadripunctata (Meloinae: Mylabrini)

Tribe Lyttini

  • Acrolytta
  • Afrolytta
  • Alosimus
  • Berberomeloe
  • Cabalia
  • Dictyolytta
  • Eolydus
  • Epispasta
  • Lagorina
  • Lydomorphus
  • Lydulus
  • Lydus
  • Lytta
  • Lyttolydulus
  • Lyttonyx
  • Megalytta
  • Muzimes
  • Oenas
  • Parameloe
  • Paroenas
  • Physomeloe
  • Prionotolytta
  • Prolytta
  • Pseudosybaris
  • Sybaris
  • Teratolytta
  • Tetraolytta
  • Trichomeloe

Tribe Meloini

  • Cyaneolytta
  • Lyttomeloe
  • Meloe
  • Spastomeloe
  • Spastonyx

Tribe Mylabrini

  • Actenodia
  • Ceroctis
  • Croscherichia
  • Hycleus
  • Lydoceras
  • Mimesthes
  • Mylabris
  • Paractenodia
  • Pseudabris
  • Semenovilia
  • Xanthabris

Tribe Pyrotini

  • Bokermannia
  • Brasiliota
  • Denierota
  • Glaphyrolytta
  • Lyttamorpha
  • Picnoseus
  • Pseudopyrota
  • Pyrota
  • Wagneronota

Genera incertae sedis

  • Australytta
  • Calydus
  • Gynapteryx
  • Oreomeloe
  • Pseudomeloe

Subfamily Nemognathinae

Sitaris muralis (Nemognathinae: Sitarini)

Tribe Horiini

  • Cissites
  • Horia
  • Synhoria

Tribe Nemognathini

  • Cochliophorus
  • Euzonitis
  • Gnathium
  • Gnathonemula
  • Leptopalpus
  • Megatrachelus
  • Nemognatha
  • Palaestra
  • Palaestrida
  • Pseudozonitis
  • Rhyphonemognatha
  • Stenodera
  • Zonitis
  • Zonitodema
  • Zonitolytta
  • Zonitomorpha
  • Zonitoschema

Tribe Sitarini

  • Allendeselazaria
  • Apalus
  • Ctenopus
  • Glasunovia
  • Nyadatus
  • Sitaris
  • Sitarobrachys
  • Stenoria

Genera incertae sedis

  • Hornia
  • Onyctenus
  • Sitaromorpha
  • Tricrania

Subfamily Tetraonycinae

Tribe Tetraonycini

  • Meloetyphlus
  • Opiomeloe
  • Tetraonyx

See also

References

  1. ^ Cirrus Digital Blister Beetle Lytta aenea
  2. ^ Bhattacharjee, Pradip; Brodell, Robert T. (2003). "Cantharidin". in Robert T. Brodell and Sandra Marchese Johnson, eds. Warts: Diagnosis and Management—an Evidence-Based Approach. London: Martin Dunitz. pp. 151–160. ISBN 1-84184-240-0. http://books.google.com/books?id=levLToql_NwC&pg=PA151&lpg=PA151&dq=Cantharidin+Bhattacharjee&source=bl&ots=p2w0aYD-nu&sig=SV2ndT-vmkj2cZDD-8anqoEpRsQ&hl=en&ei=9wpHStr5K-Wvtwe64JnCBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1.  
  3. ^ University of Arizona VDL Blister Beetle Poisoning in Horses

External links








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