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Blister Beetle - Meloe

Blister Beetle - Meloe
Till Ridge Cove, near Dillard, Georgia, USA
April 11, 2003

Moved from Oil Beetles.

When I took this picture I noticed the little beetle riding on this larger beetle. At the time I wondered if this species had sexual dimorphism and perhaps the smaller one were the male. I read later that this wasn't the case and then was left wondering exactly what was going on here.

I just finished reading Eisner's For Love of Insects (1), and I believe the mystery has been solved. The smaller beetle is likely a cantharidiphiliac. That is, a lover and seeker of cantharidin. The larger beetle produces this substance. The smaller one, probably a male, seeks out cantharidin for consumption. Later, he'll transfer this substance to a mate, where it will protect both the female and the eggs.

Ah-HA! Now I see the little one, on the rear end of the Meloe....It is a Pedilus sp. (formerly in Pedilidae, a now defunct family, but now in Pyrochroidae).

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