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Phodaga alticeps

Phodaga alticeps
Anza Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County, California, USA
April 5, 2008
Size: 3/4 inch
Interesting remarks from:
. . . Over the burning sand on the low hills at Tacna on the
lower Gila River there ran from time to time specimens of a
strange black Meloid, Phodaga alticeps. This insect is most
remarkable in its habits. It does not fly at all, although the
wings are large and well developed and the wing-cases are as
thin as tissue paper. The creature has long legs and runs about
actively visiting the scattered patches of small flowering plants
and sucking the nectar from such of the flowers as it can reach
without leaving the ground. When pursued the beetle raises at
once its thin and concave elytra and spreads its transparent under-
wings and speeds away like a little ship with black sails set wing
and wing. I thought at first that it did this to assist its long legs
in getting over the ground more rapidly by the aid of the wind,
but I found that the real object is to uncover some bright orange-
colored scent glands at each abdominal joint. These scent
glands it has the power of protruding or concealing at will,
exactly as in the Malachiidas. The living insects when captured
thus have the uncovered abdomen brightly maculate with orange
at each suture along the sides. But when dead these spots
entirely disappear and the abdomen becomes uniformly black

Images of this individual: tag all
Phodaga alticeps Phodaga alticeps

Nifty image of
Phodaga alticeps (note the distinctly pointed occiput of head), in flight, or just defensive posturing.
Now that you've put both images together (I assume it was the same specimen; at any rate it is the same species, just with closed wings) I don't have to treat them separately as before you deleted something.

Actually, you can elicit the behavior shown in the 'flight' picture by prodding them with something.

Phodaga alticeps
Thanks Hartmut.

Indeed, it was the same specimen.


moved, we don't have that many of this species and this one is very nice.

Hi John
I am a newbie here !
You said in your comment "moved".
Were my images moved ? If yes, where to ?

Moving images
Just above your image see the trail of links "Home » Guide » Arthropods (Arthropoda) » Insects (Insecta) » Beetles (Coleoptera) » Water, Rove, Scarab, Longhorn, Leaf and Snout Beetles (Polyphaga) » Fungus, Bark, Darkling and Blister Beetles (Tenebrionoidea) » Blister Beetles (Meloidae) » Phodaga » Phodaga alticeps" that shows you the full path where your image is located in the guide, currently at species level Phodaga alticeps. So I moved your images from "ID Request" to that species so that others could use your images to ID their bug in the future.

Click "Help" above for more info on how BugGuide works.

Hi John
Thanks for the explanation.
When I enter the phrase "Phodaga alticeps" in the search field, the result are the 2 picturs from Hartmut. Only when I click "Phodaga alticeps" in the classification, then all 6 images show up.
Should it be like this ?

I don't know if it "Should" but it "Is". Hartmut's images probably contain the words "Phodaga alticeps" in the title or descriprion. Try editing your images and changing your title from "Anza Borrego" to "Phodaga alticeps"

Lost comment
Somebody (I do not remember the name) identified this blister beetle for me.
Through my own clumsiness I replaced the image and by doing so deleted the comment and lost the identification.

Can somebody re-identify this beetle ?


Not an expert
but maybe was it Phodaga alticeps?

Nice work!
Cropping makes the image even stronger.

Lost comments
Hi Ron
When I exchanged and deleted the images I lost the comments from another person, who identified this beetle.
Can I get this comment back to live ?

That was Hartmut
And he's chimed in again.

If you deleted an image, it and its comments are probably lost forever. In the future to update an image... click "edit" under the picture, "Browse" to the new image file, and "Submit" your changes.

Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.