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Did You Know? 19 Incredible False Blister Beetle Facts

False blister beetle facts are interesting

Do you appreciate insects? Then this article includes all the information about the amazing false blister beetles. False blister beetles include approximately 100 different genera and 1500 different species of beetles. They can look charming with their metallic body, but remember that they can be poisonous. They secrete a poisonous chemical called cantharidin, which comes in contact if you touch these beetles and some other beetles of the family - Meloidae and order Coleoptera. This chemical substance can cause blisters on your skin. Neither the adults nor the larvae can bite you, but they don't need to bite to defend themselves. Generally, these beetles are diurnal, but this nature can change according to where they live. Such as, adult false blister beetles from tropical areas can be seen flying around lights at night, as they are attracted to light. You can see these beetles living in wet or moist areas, all around the world.

Read on to know more about the false blister beetles, and if you like this article, then check out darkling beetle and Christmas beetle.

False Blister Beetle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a false blister beetle?

The false blister beetle, also known as the pollen feeding beetle, as the name states, is a beetle.

What class of animal does a false blister beetle belong to?

The false blister beetle belongs to the class Insecta and order Coleoptera of animals. Some other beetles are bombardier beetle and stag beetle.

How many false blister beetles are there in the world?

False blister beetles are beetles that belong to the family Oedemeridae, including around 100 genera and 1500 different species. In addition, these are small insects, whose population is hard to keep track of. Hence, the exact population for the family of beetles is not known.

Where does a false blister beetle live?

These species of beetles occur worldwide. There has not been any mention of these beetles living at specifically one place or another. There have been mentions of sightings of these beetles in many parts of the world, like Russia, Australia, the North and South Islands of New Zealand, North America, South America, Europe, or Asia. The oldest of these beetles has been found in Spain. Another fossil of one of the extinct genus of this family was found in Myanmar.

What is a false blister beetle's habitat?

Mostly these species can occur around the coastline of many countries. There have been records of these beetles living in tropical areas and in moist forest areas. Their nature changes according to the geographical range and climate change of habitats. The adults can be seen around flowers or foliage, and many living in a tropical range of habitat are attracted to lights, so at night a large number of them can be seen flying around lights. The larvae are mainly seen living on moist logs or decaying wood, roots and stumps of conifers, driftwood, and hardwoods of riverbanks or beaches.

Who do false blister beetles live with?

Among the 1500 species of beetles, not all show uniform characteristics. Some species can be seen living solitary lives, while some can be seen in aggregations.

How long does a false blister beetle live?

The exact lifespan of the beetles on average is not known. Some adult beetles, like the wharf borer, live for almost a year or so. Most beetle species of the family Oedemeridae are known to live more or less a year, as their reproductive cycle suggests that many among the species lay a clutch of eggs once a year.

How do they reproduce?

The reproductive cycle and life cycle are not known for many among the 1500 species. The few species that we are familiar with, their life cycle occurs in a yearly manner. Sometimes, the breeding cycle occurs when some flowers blossom around them. The male and female adults of both gender feed on flower pollen, so attracting the other gender occurs easily for the beetles. The only condition for the females is that they don't mate until they have eaten a gut full of pollen. The beetles are known to mate on the flower heads they were feeding on. The females digest the pollen grains inside their gut and use them to produce eggs. The females lay their eggs on the bark of nearby trees or plants, on decaying or wet woods, debris, driftwood, and sometimes, even can be seen making burrows in wet soil. When these eggs hatch, the larvae drop on the ground from the plants of the woods. After the larvae drop on the ground, it's assumed that they feed on rhizomes and rootlets. These larvae grow in wet soil under the trees and go through pupation there. When beetles grow into adults and come out of the pupae, they continue with this life cycle.

What is their conservation status?

Not all among the family Oedemeridae have been listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. Some among the species have been listed as Least Concern, like the Wharf Borer (Nacerdes melanura), Anogcodes fulvicollis, or Ischnomera xanthoderes. Some among them have been listed as Near Threatened, like the Nacerdes hesperica or the Sparedrus lencinae. The biggest threat the species faces is habitat loss due to the destruction of forests.

False Blister Beetle Fun Facts

What do false blister beetles look like?

False blister beetles have cylindrical-shaped, slender bodies. They are known as soft-bodied, medium-sized beetles. Their body and the head are not connected by a neck. Their upper body has an exoskeleton that is curved and doesn't have an edge to them. The tarsal formula of the beetles is 5-5-4. They have two long antennae, two palpi, and six legs. The eyes can be seen at the base of the antennae. They usually have black-colored heads and metallic-colored bodies and wings. The head of these beetles is usually wider than the pronotum. There are no easy ways to identify beetles. Their appearance is the only way to recognize them.

Touching false blister beetles can cause blisters on the skin.

How cute are they?

The false blisters beetles will not look cute to all. Many are afraid of such insects, but many appreciate and are enthusiasts of insects, and they will surely like these beetles. However, we suggest you do not get fooled by their charm as they secrete a type of chemical, cantharidin. This chemical can go into the body of whoever comes in contact with the insect, which can cause skin problems.

How do they communicate?

Not much is known about how these beetles specifically communicate. Beetles in general communicate by chemical means. They secrete a kind of chemical, the scent of which is then picked up by other insects. They communicate this way during mating season and many other times. Some beetles that live on dead or decaying wood, like the false blister beetles show the habit of making vibrations on the wood. Other than that, the false blister beetles secrete cantharidin, a type of poisonous chemical, also to ward off predators.

How big is a false blister beetle?

The false blister beetles are about 0.2-0.5 in (5.1-12.7 mm) in length. Hercules beetles are about 10 times larger than false blister beetles. Hercules beetles on average are about 2 in (5 cm) in length.

How fast can a false blister beetle move?

The exact speed at which the false blister beetles fly or move is not known. However, they can be seen moving or flying at a moderate speed. They are not known to fly or move at a high speed.

How much does a false blister beetle weigh?

The exact weight of these beetles on average is not known, but considering their small size, it can be assumed that they are light weighing insects.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The males or the females don't have any specific names. They are called male false blister beetles and female false blister beetles, respectively.

What would you call a baby false blister beetle?

A baby of a beetle is called a larva, so the babies of false blister beetles would be called false blister beetle larvae.

What do they eat?

These beetles are herbivorous in nature. They are known to entirely feed on pollens of flowers. Hence, they are also known as 'pollen feeding beetles'. The name is definitely justified by their feeding habits.

Are they poisonous?

These beetles of the family Oedemeridae are known to secrete a type of poisonous substance known as cantharidin. Beetles of the family Meloidae, commonly known as blister beetles also secrete cantharidin. Cantharidin is a toxic substance that causes blister beetle dermatitis when anyone comes in contact with the beetles. The beetles use cantharidin as their defense.

Would they make a good pet?

Many people keep beetles as pets, but false blisters beetles should not be kept as pets. The cantharidin secreted by these beetles can give you skin problems and cause you to have blisters if you come in contact with them. Hence, you won't be able to handle the beetle even when it is necessary to. They also feed on pollen from flowers, so you will need many flowers to keep them happy and fed.

Did you know...

History tells us that cantharidin isn't only a toxic chemical. The cantharidin was also used for the treatment of ailments. As cantharidin is also secreted by beetles of the Meloidae family, one beetle from this Meloidae family, the Spanish fly was used by apothecaries. This medicine for treatment was also named 'Spanish fly'.

Do false blister beetles bite?

False blister beetles don't bite. They don't need to bite to cause harm though. Simple skin contact with these beetles will make you come in contact with the toxic substance cantharidin, which will cause blisters on your skin. They don't have stingers and their jaws are not strong enough to bite onto the human skin either.

How do you get rid of false blister beetles?

As the false blister beetle larvae live and grow on decaying woods, sometimes on docks and wooden structures in the coastal areas, they can cause damage in these areas. To control their population, you would need to get rid of any wet or moist wood. Usually, pesticides don't work on these beetles, so you would need to pick them up and get rid of them manually.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these luna moth facts and click beetle facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable false blister beetle coloring pages.

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