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Genus Epicauta

Grey and black beetle - Epicauta funebris Striped Blister Beetle - Epicauta unknown black beetle - Epicauta pennsylvanica Blister Beetle Epicauta sp - Epicauta maculata rust colored beetle - Epicauta ferruginea Blister Beetle - Epicauta fabricii blister beetle - Epicauta conferta Striped Blister beetle - Epicauta
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Long-horned, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
No Taxon (Series Cucujiformia)
Superfamily Tenebrionoidea (Fungus, Bark, Darkling and Blister Beetles)
Family Meloidae (Blister Beetles)
Subfamily Meloinae
Tribe Epicautini
Genus Epicauta
Explanation of Names
Epicauta Dejean 1834
Greek epi 'upon' + caut 'burn, burning' (refers to toxic secretions of these beetles)
Numbers
2 subgenera; the largest meloid genus in the New World, with 173 spp. in North & Central America(1) and ~400 spp. worldwide(2). Most species belong to the nominate subgenus.(3)
Our species of Epicauta (Macrobasis)
*alastor Skinner 1904
albida (Say 1824)
*alpina Werner 1944
arizonica Werner 1944
atrivittata (LeConte 1854)
*balli Werner 1945
fabricii (LeConte 1853)
*flavocinerea (Blatchley 1910)
gissleri (Horn 1878)
hirsutipubescens (Maydell 1934)
immaculata (Say 1824)
*ingrata Fall 1907
lauta (Horn 1885)
liebecki Werner 1944
*linearis (LeConte 1858)
longicollis (LeConte 1853)
maculifera (Maydell 1934)
*mimetica (Horn 1875)
murina (LeConte 1853)
ochrea (LeConte 1853)
*parkeri Werner 1944
polingi Werner 1944
purpurea (Horn 1885)
segmenta (Say 1824)
subglabra (Fall 1922)
sublineata (LeConte 1854)
tenella (LeConte 1858)
tenuilineata (Horn 1894)
tenuis (LeConte 1853)
texana Werner 1944
torsa (LeConte 1853)
*uniforma Werner 1944
*valida (LeConte 1853)
virgulata (LeConte 1866)
Size
4-18 mm
Identification
Similar to Lytta, but with a hairy patch on underside of profemur(4) and antennae nearly thread-like(5):

keys in(6)(3)
Frequently asked question: What angles/details are necessary to get an Epicauta identified from photographs?
John D. Pinto answering:
There is no general recipe. For species ID of some we need to see palpi; for others its tibial spurs; for others it may be hind coxae. For the Caviceps Group the head capsule may be important. These features are not easily documented in field photos. In general, for the subgenus Macrobasis which includes many southwestern species we should have males. Males for all groups are generally best unless the species has a unique color pattern or a unique shape. Fortunately genitalia are of little to no use in Epicauta. Many common Epicauta are simply difficult to identify from photogarphs - field photos are poor substitutes for having a specimen in hand. It seems that it would eventually be worthwhile to photograph authoritatively identified material in museums – virtually all the US species of Epicauta could be done rather easily. Field photos seem to be an inefficient way to get our fauna documented for the non-specialist.
Range
most diverse in the sw. US (1); worldwide (except Australia, New Zealand, and Madagascar) and throughout the New World except extreme north and south(2)
Food
primarily parasitoids of grasshopper eggs; some spp. feed on the eggs of other Epicauta spp.(2)
Remarks
Some species are crop pests
See Also
Internet References
Works Cited
1.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.
2.The New World genera of Meloidae (Coleoptera): a key and synopsis
Pinto J.D., Bologna M.A. 1999. J. Nat. Hist. 33: 569-620.
3.The taxonomy of North American Epicauta (Coleoptera: Meloidae) with a revision of the nominate subgenus...
Pinto J.D. 1991. Univ. Calif. Publ. Entomol. 110: 372 pp.
4.Peterson Field Guides: Beetles
Richard E. White. 1983. Houghton Mifflin Company.
5.A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America
Dillon, Elizabeth S., and Dillon, Lawrence. 1961. Row, Peterson, and Company.
6.A revision of the genus Epicauta in America north of Mexico (Coleoptera, Meloidae)
Werner F.G. 1945. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 95: 421-517.
7.Colorado insect of interest fact sheets, by W. Cranshaw