Saturday, October 6, 2012

Playing with this Blister Beetle!

Each day one will see at least an insect where ever he is in this world. But one insect will make anyone remember about it at anytime by its peculiar habit as it is to me! This insect is a beetle that sprays pungent gas whenever one irritates it by teasing it. This is the Common Indian Red spotted Blister Beetle (Mylabris pustulata, Orange Beetle, 'Pithaan Pithaan' in Tamil).
This beetle has black wings with red spots on them, resembling a red shirt-button ('pithaan' in Tamil).

It is active always but slow in moving. It feeds on flowers of plants such as periwinkle, ipomoea, chickpea and pigeon pea; it is a pest that is resistant to pesticides, affecting yields of crops. It can be easily picked up with hand but it can harm you with the spray of a chemical (Cantharidin) that causes irritation and blisters on the skin, hence its name, the blister beetle. Its larvae are insectivorous that attack bees!
This attractive wonder beetle is a playmate to children if handled carefully!

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