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Blister Beetles in Flagrante… | by Charles G. Haacker
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Blister Beetles in Flagrante…

I hesitated a while before posting this. I don't mean to offend, and I didn't want to disturb these two, but they were SHINE-ee, and I didn't know what they were (I needed the picture to look them up). These are Black Blister Beetles, about an inch long each. There are many, many different species (some 7,500), but what they all have in common is the secretion of the blistering agent cantharidin. Disturbing these two with bare hands would have led to seriously nasty, painful blisters. As it was I upset them: the firing of my flash for a fill caused them to stamp away in high dudgeon yet still in flagrante


(This shot was physically tough. A P7100 with a flip-out viewscreen would have made this a lot easier. I wasn't prone—I can't get prone any more—so I was having to let the camera's focusing system do its thang, which it did very well. Try this with the black background if you're not too, um, disgusted.)

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Taken on October 22, 2011