Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda

P. signaticornis

Guatemala, Panama

P. famulus


Paederus spp.

Malaysia, Ceylon

Modified from Frank and Kanamitsu (1987).

Modified from Frank and Kanamitsu (1987).

Isles east across Central Asia to Japan and southeast to Australia), P. sabaeus (Africa), P. cruenticollis and P. aus-tralis (Australasia), P. signaticornis (Central America), and P. columbinus and P. brasiliensis (South America). Species in South American countries are known by various names, such as bicho de fuego, pito, poto, podo, and trepa-moleque.

Unlike blister beetles, rove beetles do not exhibit reflex bleeding as a defensive reaction. Pederin contacts human skin only when a beetle is brushed vigorously over the skin or crushed. Because of their general appearance or misunderstandings about their etiology, the resulting skin lesions have been called dermatitis linearis, spider-lick (India and Sri Lanka), and whiplash dermatitis. The dermatitis may develop on any part of the body; however, exposed areas such as the head, arms, hands, and legs are most often affected. Mirror-image lesions may form where one pederin-contaminated skin surface touches another.

Unlike meloid-induced dermatitis, which develops within 18—24 hr after contact, the paederine-induced reaction of itching and burning usually occurs 24—72 hr after contact with the beetle's body fluid. The affected skin appears reddened and vesicles form about 24 hr after the initial response. The vesicles may coalesce into blisters and become purulent, producing a reaction that is often more severe than that seen following exposure to meloids. The itching may last for a week, after which the blisters crust over, dry, and peel off, leaving red marks that may persist for months. Rubbing the eyes with beetle fluid or contaminated hands, or beetles flying or crawling into eyes, can cause pain, marked swelling of the eyelids and conjunctivae, excessive lacrimation, clouding of the cornea, and inflammation of the iris (iritis). Such ocular lesions seen in East Africa have been called Nairobi eye. Although eye involvement often is very irritating, permanent damage is not common.

Rove beetles live in vegetable debris and under stones and other materials, such as leaf litter. They are preda-ceous on insects and other arthropods, or they may eat plant debris. Paederine staphylinids are most abundant in areas of moist soil, such as irrigated fields and other crop lands, where the adult beetles feed on various herbivorous insects. Consequently, agricultural workers and others working in fields and grassy areas are often affected. Because the beetles are attracted to lights, workers on brightly lit oil rigs and people occupying lighted dwellings in tropical areas are also commonly affected.

Darkling beetles (Fig. 6.6) produce defensive secretions containing quinones. Adults of Blaps species found in

Tenebrionidae (Darkling Beetles)

FIGURE 6.6 Darkling beetles (Tcnebrionidae). (A) Confused flour beede (Tribolium eonfusum); (B) Red flour beetle (T. castaneum). Defensive secretions containing quinones can cause skin irritation. (From Gorham, 1991.)

the Middle East and Europe secrete these chemicals that cause burning, blistering, and darkening of the skin. Adult beetles of some cosmopolitan Tribolium species, including Tribolium eonfusum and T. castaneum, have been associated with severe itching. North American desert species in the genus Eleodes, when threatened, take a characteristic headstand pose and exude various quinones that repel small predators and cause mild irritation to humans who handle these beetles. Darkling beetles are found in diverse habitats, including under logs and stones, in rotting wood and other vegetation, in fungi, in termite and ant nests, and among debris in and outside of homes. Most species live in dry, often desert, environments, while pest species are found in stored products, such as grain and cereals. Most tenebrionids are scavengers on decaying or dry plant material, but a few feed on living plants.

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness

Remember to prepare for everyone in the home. When you are putting together a plan to prepare in the case of an emergency, it is very important to remember to plan for not only yourself and your children, but also for your family pets and any guests who could potentially be with you at the time of the emergency.

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