|Black blister beetle on goldenrod - REK|
|Larva and Pupa UCR.edu|
There are 7,500 species of blister beetles world wide. The "blister" in their name comes from their ability to excrete cantharidin from their joints when attacked. While discouraging some predators, there are some bugs, beetles and flies that are immune to the toxin and will eat the blister beetle, dead or alive, acquiring the toxin for their own protection. They are called "cantharidinophilous insects," but only on rare occasions by the most serious of entomologists.
|Fortunately it was on the flower head and not the hand. - REK|
The male blister beetle has high levels of cantharidin in its blood and passes some to the female which makes it into her eggs. This "sperm gift" doesn't sound very romantic but it is apparently effective as we have lots of beetles this year.
Detail at Cirrusimage.com