Meloe one of many blister beetles

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pictured here is a strange insect I photographed Tuesday in Scott County. This wingless insect is called a meloe.

It is one of about 7,500 species of blister beetles occurring worldwide.

I saw this insect come out of a small hole in the ground. I watched it clumsily climbing on newly fallen leaves and other vegetation while always remaining close to the ground. It sometimes paused to eat green grass or green tender leaves of small plants.

Notice the sharp toe claws and odd segmented antenna. Be careful when handling a blister beetle. If squeezed some of these insects can emit a liquid that can cause skin irritation and even blisters.

Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell. Find this column at semissourian.com to order a reprint of the photo. Find more work by him at the Painted Wren Gallery.

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