Nuttall's Blister Beetle

Location: Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, AB
Date: July 20,  2010

      Photo 4

Nuttall's Blister Beetle

Common Name:  Nuttall's Blister Beetle

Latin Name:  Lytta nuttalli Say
                        (R. Bercha, det.)

Length:   15 - 22 mm

Range: Southern Alberta

Habitat:  Various

Time of year seen: Summer (Additional Sightings)

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.  ( & Ives et al, 1988)


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