Friday, 29 July 2011


This tiny, ant-like beetle is a blister beetle of the family Meloidae – perhaps an Anthicus species, possibly Anthicius floralis – the narrow-necked harvest beetle. Like most creatures on the Island it enjoys aggravating humans. In this case it pierces the skin and injects canthadrin – a poisonous chemical which causes blistering of the skin. (Canthadrin is used medically to remove warts). For the purposes of scientific research and a better photo I allowed it to have a go at me. When not busy biting it was sprinting all over my hand which made it difficult to photograph. Once stationery and biting it was easier to photograph – the things I do for science!

I can confirm that being injected with canthadrin hurts.


  1. Now I needed a two want locking up.

  2. Ouch indeed!!! What's the poison for? What's in it for the beetle? Does it live on human blood?

  3. I9f there's one thing I dislike, Librarian, it's people who ask questions that I can't answer. Especially as if I bluff someone will find me out. So far as I know the beetle doesn't have much contact with humans - perhapd it's just sadistic.

  4. Sooo... while it is poisoning you (!), is it also going after blood? Yikes!
    Or, you're just especially likeable??? :)

  5. I have always had great respect for photographers who risk their lives in pursuit of the perfect picture!

  6. The things you do for a photograph!

  7. This evening I have just been bitten on the arm by a beetle very like the one in your picture. Ouch indeed! Whilst trying to identify it I stumbled on your picture but I am not convinced it is Anthicus floralis. As something of an entomologist myself I am keen to identify it. CAn I use your picture to post onto buglife where there will be some helpful people to give an ID ?

    1. Dear Peter
      Please, by all means use my picture. Any further detail is always of interest!


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