What are blister beetles?


blister beetles (Pyrota sp.) were aggregated on trees

These blister beetles (Pyrota sp.) were observed in June 2005 in Goliad county by Lee Elliot of San Antonio. He estimated 10,000 or more beetles were aggregated on trees over a couple of acres. The red and black coloration is a warning to predators of their toxic nature.

I wanted to relate one of the more amazing ento-phenomenon that I’ve experienced. While visiting a ranch in Goliad County in June 2005, Bill Carr and I noticed a few red and black meloids. Then we found a few more. Then we looked up and saw literally clouds of these beetles flying through the air and aggregating on trees in the area. I would say that there were 10,000 or more individuals in an area of a couple of acres. It didn’t appear to be a mating aggregation, as none of the many photos I took showed individuals in copula. I believe that the beetles belong to the genus Pyrota. Photos can be viewed at http://www.abisw.org/Pyrota
Pyrota tenuicostatis det. EG Riley
Lee Elliott
San Antonio, TX

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