Look But Don’t Touch

Oil beetle of some sort, 19 April 2015, Linn Run State Park (photo by Kate St. John)

This indigo-colored beetle looks beautiful but I was careful not to touch him last Sunday at Linn Run State Park.  It’s a good thing I didn’t … and here’s why.

At an inch and a half long this beetle was hard to miss. Thirteen of us watched him walk on the leaves.  Loree Speedy suggested he was a Blister Beetle.

Wissahickon‘s bug expert, Monica Miller, confirmed he’s one of the many species of Oil Beetles (Melos) in the Blister Beetle family (Meloidae).  His true identity requires a coleopterist’s help but her guess is Meloe impressus.  (I like the idea that “This Meloe impressed us.”)

Blister Beetles earned their name because they excrete a poisonous chemical from their leg joints, cantharidin, that causes blisters on our skin.

Yes, he’s an amazing color, has short wing covers, knobby antennae.

Blister beetle, Grove Run Trail, Linn Run State Park, 19 April 2015 (photo by Kate St. John)

Just look. Don’t touch.


(photos by Kate St. John)

3 thoughts on “Look But Don’t Touch

  1. Eeeew! Between this and the tick blog, it’s no wonder this “I like nature from inside the safety of my house” girl is not signing up for your nature walk. one of these days though… I would like to participate.. when I get up enough courage! Hope you have fun tomorrow!

  2. This is a beautiful animal. The picture, when I enlarged it on my tablet screen, looks like the work of an expert nature illustrator, a work of art.

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