We’re glad Melissa and her son admired these boldly colored beetles with eyes only, as they can ooze a liquid that can blister skin. The chemical responsible, cantharidin, is highly toxic to animals, but has been used by humans as both an aphrodisiac (Spanish fly, a blister beetle native to Europe) and a medical remedy. Stansbury’s Blister Beetles range across the western US. While the larvae help themselves to the contents of bees’ nests, adults do not eat and only live one to two weeks.
Size: Up to about 1⁄2 inch (12.7 millimeters) long
Photo by: Melissa Mathis on 4/24/22 near Greenough, MT