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Genus Lytta

A garden surprise - beetle ID, please - Lytta aenea - female Lytta (Paralytta) mirifica Werner - Lytta mirifica - male beetle - Lytta Friendly beetle - Lytta aenea L viridana - Lytta viridana - male Lytta polita Lytta vulnerata Blister beetle turning in circles - Lytta aenea
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga
No Taxon (Series Cucujiformia)
Superfamily Tenebrionoidea
Family Meloidae (Blister Beetles)
Subfamily Meloinae
Genus Lytta
Explanation of Names
Lytta Fabricius 1775
From Greek lytta, lyssa (λυττα, λυσσα) 'madness, rage' (refers to the toxic properties of these beetles)
Numbers
47 spp. in 4 subgenera in our area(1), ~70 in the Nearctic Region(2), ~110 total (arranged into 9 subgenera)(3); 3 spp. in the northeast (L. aenea, L. sayi, L. unguicularis)(4)
Size
7-27 mm
Identification
unlike in Epicauta, no hairy patch on underside of profemora(5) and antennae submoniliform(6):

vs more thread-like in Epicauta:

key to spp. of our fauna in Selander (1960)(1)
Range
Holarctic(3); in our area, most diverse in w. US(2)
Habitat
Larvae in bee nests(5)
Food
larval hosts: bees, esp. Anthophoridae, Megachilidae, Halictidae, Colletidae (3)
adults eat foliage, flowers, pollen, and fruit
Remarks
our only representative of the tribe Lyttini Solier 1851, that contains 7 genera in the New World alone(3)
See Also
Works Cited
1.Bionomics, systematics and phylogeny of Lytta, a genus of blister beetles (Coleoptera: Meloidae).
Selander, R.B. 1960. Illinois Biological Monographs, No. 28, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL.
2.American Beetles, Volume II: Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea
Arnett, R.H., Jr., M. C. Thomas, P. E. Skelley and J. H. Frank. (eds.). 2002. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL.
3.The New World genera of Meloidae (Coleoptera): a key and synopsis
Pinto J.D., Bologna M.A. 1999. J. Nat. Hist. 33: 569‒620.
4.The Beetles of Northeastern North America, Vol. 1 and 2.
Downie, N.M., and R.H. Arnett. 1996. The Sandhill Crane Press, Gainesville, FL.
5.Peterson Field Guides: Beetles
Richard E. White. 1983. Houghton Mifflin Company.
6.A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America
Dillon, Elizabeth S., and Dillon, Lawrence. 1961. Row, Peterson, and Company.