Home / Blister Beetles (Meloidae) / Black Blister Beetle (Epicauta pensylvanica)

Black Blister Beetle (Epicauta pensylvanica)

Black blister beetle of the blister beetles family is indigenous to parts of the United States and Southern Canada. It has an entirely black body, which in turn is the outcome of its name.

Black Blister Beetle

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Meloidae
  • Genus: Epicauta
  • Scientific name: Epicauta pensylvanica

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 9 – 12 mm (0.35 – 0.47 inches)

Color: They have an overall black body with slight patches of yellow on their abdomen. One could even spot a glistening shine on their pronotum, elytra, and head.

Other Characteristic Features: Their prominent physical features include a straight body, slightly bulging abdomen, and soft wing covers.

Epicauta pensylvanica

Larva

When newly hatched, the larva appears extremely small in size, with long legs, but remains highly active, burrowing into the soil right after emergence. It eventually molts into a grub-like appearance with fewer appendages and mostly consumes grasshopper’s eggs. In the sixth instar, they become dormant and overwinter before transcending to the next phase.

Pupa

The pupation period commences in spring and continues for approximately two weeks, after which the adult moth emerges in summer.

Egg

The small, round eggs are laid in clusters in the soil.

Quick Facts

Other NamesBlack aster bug
Adult lifespanApproximately three months
Duration of larval stage1 – 2 months, but sometimes it may last up to 3 years
DistributionSouthern Canada from Alberta up to Atlantic Coast in the south; parts of the United States, and northern Mexico
HabitatGarden, fields, and in all other places where their host plants grow
Seasons active fromJuly – October
Host PlantsFlowering plants like goldenrod aster, rabbitbrush, daisy, as well as alfalfa, potato, and beet  
Diet of larvae and adultsLarvae: Grasshopper eggs
Adults: Pollen, and nectar of flowers
Black Blister Beetle Image

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

Compared to most other members of the blister beetle family, this one is an exception. It does not cause significant damage to the foliage as they mostly concentrate on the flowers to suck nectar. 

Did You Know

  • Its species name was given by De Geer in 1775.
  • The ‘Pensylvanica’ part of its species name is sometimes spelled as ‘Pensylvannica’, omitting one n.
Black Blister Beetle Picture

Image Source: bugguide.net, objects.liquidweb.services, static.inaturalist.org,

Black blister beetle of the blister beetles family is indigenous to parts of the United States and Southern Canada. It has an entirely black body, which in turn is the outcome of its name.

Black Blister Beetle

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 9 – 12 mm (0.35 – 0.47 inches)

Color: They have an overall black body with slight patches of yellow on their abdomen. One could even spot a glistening shine on their pronotum, elytra, and head.

Other Characteristic Features: Their prominent physical features include a straight body, slightly bulging abdomen, and soft wing covers.

Epicauta pensylvanica

Larva

When newly hatched, the larva appears extremely small in size, with long legs, but remains highly active, burrowing into the soil right after emergence. It eventually molts into a grub-like appearance with fewer appendages and mostly consumes grasshopper’s eggs. In the sixth instar, they become dormant and overwinter before transcending to the next phase.

Pupa

The pupation period commences in spring and continues for approximately two weeks, after which the adult moth emerges in summer.

Egg

The small, round eggs are laid in clusters in the soil.

Quick Facts

Other NamesBlack aster bug
Adult lifespanApproximately three months
Duration of larval stage1 – 2 months, but sometimes it may last up to 3 years
DistributionSouthern Canada from Alberta up to Atlantic Coast in the south; parts of the United States, and northern Mexico
HabitatGarden, fields, and in all other places where their host plants grow
Seasons active fromJuly – October
Host PlantsFlowering plants like goldenrod aster, rabbitbrush, daisy, as well as alfalfa, potato, and beet  
Diet of larvae and adultsLarvae: Grasshopper eggs
Adults: Pollen, and nectar of flowers
Black Blister Beetle Image

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

Compared to most other members of the blister beetle family, this one is an exception. It does not cause significant damage to the foliage as they mostly concentrate on the flowers to suck nectar. 

Did You Know

  • Its species name was given by De Geer in 1775.
  • The ‘Pensylvanica’ part of its species name is sometimes spelled as ‘Pensylvannica’, omitting one n.
Black Blister Beetle Picture

Image Source: bugguide.net, objects.liquidweb.services, static.inaturalist.org,

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