samedi 17 septembre 2016

Six dangerous legs

Strange insect on the path: at first it seemed dead but as for the bloody beetle we already met, it is a trick.
This is Meloe violaceus, the violet oil beetle, part of the blister beetle genus Meloe commonly referred to as oil beetles because they release oily droplets of hemolymph (name of the blood of insects) from their joints when disturbed; this contains cantharidin, a poisonous chemical causing blistering of the skin and painful swelling. Members of this genus are typically flightless, without functional wings, and shortened elytra.
Indeed after a few minutes, the insect moved and went on its way.
The body is 10–30 millimeters long, females are somewhat larger than the males.

As in other members of the family, they are hypermethamorphic, going through several larval stages, the first of which is typically a mobile triungulin that finds and attaches to a host in order to gain access to the host's offspring. In this genus, the host is a bee, and each species of Meloe may attack only a single species or genus of bees; while sometimes considered parasitoids, it appears that in general, the Meloe larva consumes the bee larva along with its provisions, and can often survive on the provisions alone.

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