Pedilid Beetle

HEMIPEPLID BEETLES Family Hemipeplidae Not illus. Identification: Very elongate, slender, parallel-sided, distinctly flattened. Yellow to yellowish brown. 8-12 mm. Similar to Cucujidae (p. 176) but 3rd tarsal segment lobed and front coxal cavities closed behind.

This family is represented in the U.S. by 2 species, found in Florida, Georgia, and California. They are not common.

Superfamily Melooidea

Tarsi 5-5-4. Usually moderate-sized and soft-bodied.

BLISTER BEETLES Family Meloidae See also Pl. 6

Identification: Shape distinctive: usually elongate, slender (a few are oval or round), pronotum narrower than FW, head broady usually wider than pronotum. Body soft, often leathery. FW loosely covering abdomen, rarely shortened. Antennae threadlike or beadlike, intermediate segments sometimes modified. Legs long, slender. Black or brown, sometimes brightly colored, often with light pubescence. 3-20 (usually 10-15) mm.

Blister beetles are common insects occurring on the flowers and foliage of various plants. The name "blister" beetles is based on the fact that the body contains cantharidin, a substance capable of blistering the skin. This chemical is extracted from the body of certain species and used medicinally. Adult blister beetles are plant feeders, and some are serious pests of potatoes, tomatoes, beets, clover, and other plants. They may completely defoliate a plant. Larvae are parasitic and generally beneficial; they usually feed on grasshopper eggs, but some feed on eggs or larvae of bees. Larvae that parasitize bees climb onto flowers and attach themselves to bees visiting the flowers. The bees then carry these larvae to their nest, where the larvae attack the bee eggs. Meloid larvae undergo hypermetamorphosis (in which the various larval instars are quite different in form): the 1st instar is long-legged and active, whereas following instars are grublike or maggotlike. Members of the genus Meloe, which are rather large and black or bluish, have very short, overlapping front wings (elytra); they are called oil beetles because they exude an oily substance from the joints of the legs when disturbed; this substance can raise blisters on one's skin.

WEDGE-SHAPED BEETLES Family Rhipiphoridae

Identification: Elongate, humpbacked, wedge-shaped, similar to Mordellidae but abdomen blunt, not pointed. Antennae pectinate or flabellate in cf, serrate in $. FW entire or short, pointed. Usually black and orange. 4-15 mm.

Adults generally occur on flowers but are not common. Larvae are parasitic on wasps, bees, and cockroaches; they undergo hypermetamorphosis (see p. 41). Some females are larviform.

TUMBLING FLOWER BEETLES 185

Superfamily Mordelloidea Unique in shape, and in behavior when captured.

TUMBLING FLOWER BEETLES Family Mordellidae

Identification: Humpbacked, wedge-shaped. Head bent down, situated ventrally. Abdomen pointed and extending beyond FW. Usually blackish or gray, sometimes with light markings; generally pubescent. Antennae short, threadlike, serrate, or clubbed. Tarsi 5-5-4. 1.5-15.0 (usually 3-7) mm.

Mordellids are common on flowers and foliage, and when captured tumble about in a comical fashion. They are often difficult to catch, since thev run rapidly or take flight when

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