Common Name: Nuttall's Blister Beetle
Lytta nuttalli Say
Length: 15 - 22 mm
Range: Southern Alberta
Time of year seen: Summer
Diet: Legume foliage and flowers
Other: Nuttall's Blister Beetles
is a widespread species found throughout western North America. The
term blister beetle comes from the beetles
cantharidin rich body
fluid which causes blistering when it comes in contact with bare skin.
Blister beetle populations are tied to grasshopper populations as the larva
consume grasshopper eggs. As such, blister beetle populations are high
during and following years when grasshopper populations are at their peak.
The rarely observed larva follow an unusual transformation, beginning
as very mobile long legged slender larva in the first instar and becoming
less mobile fatter grubs in latter instars. The adults are gregarious
foliage and flower feeders that feed on legume family plants. The
adult beetles may swarm and feed in concentrated areas along crop margins
and in proximity to grasshopper egg beds.
(http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca & Ives et al, 1988)