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Iron Cross Blister Beetle (Tegrodera aloga)

Iron cross blister beetle of the blister beetle (Meloidae) family is indigenous to North and Central America. Its bright spotted appearance results from the cantharidin toxin secreted from its antennae, and legs leading to painful blisters in humans when touched. When ingested by livestock, particularly horses, the beetle could result in severe injury or even fatality.

Iron Cross Blister Beetle

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Meloidae
  • Genus: Tegrodera
  • Scientific name: Tegrodera aloga

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 20 mm

Color: It has a yellow body, resembling a vein-like structure with a prominent black cross running through the center. The head is bright red, while their legs and antennae are black.

Other Characteristic Features: They have a long, narrow, cylindrically-shaped body, with a wide head.

Tegrodera aloga

Larva

Not much is known about this beetle’s larval stage. However, the larva mostly remains underground after emerging from eggs and is possibly parasitic, occupying nests of grasshoppers and bees.

Pupa

The pupal stage occurs in the nest near the flowers, and the following spring, they emerge into adults.

Egg

The eggs are mostly laid near the buds of the palo verde trees and hatch when the flowers open.

Quick Facts

LifespanNot recorded
DistributionNorth America and Central America
HabitatNear places where palo verde and other host plants grow
Common PredatorsBirds
Seasons active fromApril – July
Host PlantsPalo verde, sand bells, woolly stars
Diet  of larvae and adultsLarvae: Nectar and pollen of flowers
Adults: Flowers of their host plants
Iron Cross Blister Beetle Image

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

The adults often damage the flowers they feed, though the harm they cause is unknown.

Did You Know

  • Skinner coined the species name Tegrodera aloga in the year 1903.
  • The beetle’s body contains cantharidin, used in removing warts, tattoos, and cancer treatment. Hence it stands effective in topical medication.
Iron Cross Blister Beetle Picture

Image Source: cdn-a.william-reed.com, i.pinimg.com, townnews.com, a4.pbase.com

Iron cross blister beetle of the blister beetle (Meloidae) family is indigenous to North and Central America. Its bright spotted appearance results from the cantharidin toxin secreted from its antennae, and legs leading to painful blisters in humans when touched. When ingested by livestock, particularly horses, the beetle could result in severe injury or even fatality.

Iron Cross Blister Beetle

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 20 mm

Color: It has a yellow body, resembling a vein-like structure with a prominent black cross running through the center. The head is bright red, while their legs and antennae are black.

Other Characteristic Features: They have a long, narrow, cylindrically-shaped body, with a wide head.

Tegrodera aloga

Larva

Not much is known about this beetle’s larval stage. However, the larva mostly remains underground after emerging from eggs and is possibly parasitic, occupying nests of grasshoppers and bees.

Pupa

The pupal stage occurs in the nest near the flowers, and the following spring, they emerge into adults.

Egg

The eggs are mostly laid near the buds of the palo verde trees and hatch when the flowers open.

Quick Facts

LifespanNot recorded
DistributionNorth America and Central America
HabitatNear places where palo verde and other host plants grow
Common PredatorsBirds
Seasons active fromApril – July
Host PlantsPalo verde, sand bells, woolly stars
Diet  of larvae and adultsLarvae: Nectar and pollen of flowers
Adults: Flowers of their host plants
Iron Cross Blister Beetle Image

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

The adults often damage the flowers they feed, though the harm they cause is unknown.

Did You Know

  • Skinner coined the species name Tegrodera aloga in the year 1903.
  • The beetle’s body contains cantharidin, used in removing warts, tattoos, and cancer treatment. Hence it stands effective in topical medication.
Iron Cross Blister Beetle Picture

Image Source: cdn-a.william-reed.com, i.pinimg.com, townnews.com, a4.pbase.com

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