Friday Beetle Blogging: Epicauta Blister Beetle

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Epicauta pardalis – spotted blister beetle
Tucson, Arizona

Here’s a beetle so toxic it can kill a horse. The horse doesn’t even need to ingest the beetle, it just needs to ingest something that the beetle bled on.  Blister beetles produce the defensive compound cantharadin- the active ingredient of the aphrodesiac Spanish Fly- which they reflex-bleed out their joints when threatened:

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photo details (top) Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a Canon 20D
f/13, 1/250 sec, ISO 100, indirect strobe in white box.

(bottom) Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D
f/13, 1/250 sec, ISO 100, flash diffused through tracing paper.

5 thoughts on “Friday Beetle Blogging: Epicauta Blister Beetle”

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