Master Blister Beetle (Lytta magister)

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This page last updated on 04/20/2019
(Fig. 01)
Picture Notes: On 04/16/2019 we were 4-wheeling on Rockefeller Road in the area of the Ireteba Mountains in Nevada. On one of our stops we noticed a very large cave high up on a mountain side. Once several of our party reached and entered the large cave they encountered a snake and a colorful beetle, shown in picture (Fig. 01).

DescriptionLytta magister (also known as the desert blister beetle or master blister beetle) is a species of blister beetle found in southwestern North America. The Master Blister Beetles are probably the most common species of blister beetle. The Master Blister Beetle has an orange head and thorax. Typically 0.6 to 1.3 inches in length. The Lytta magister has a striking red (orange) head, legs and prothorax, with black elytra. The blister beetle insects can usually be found in the Midwest & Southwest parts of United States. Currently, more than seventy-thousand five-hundred bugs species are found in America. Among the most conspicuous of insects in the Sonoran Desert spring are Blister Beetles in the family Meloidae. The Blister Beetle is found in the desert during the early Summer. Don't attempt to handle them; their bodies contain a toxin called (cantharadin) that can cause blisters to form on the skin.