Dance of the Desert Blister Beetles is a photograph of an apparent mating ritual with two of these insects near the Willow Beach area in Arizona's Mohave Desert. There were tons of these in the area, and they were just plain icky! - I was tempted to call this Naughty Blister Beetles, but then I thought, hey - they can't help their primal urge to fall in love any more than humans!
I have learned they are also called Master Blister Beetles or Lytta magister.
These insects exhibit hypermetamorphosis, a type of complete metamorphosis. In the case of hypermetamorphosis the larval stage not only increases in size, but unlike insects with standard complete metamorphosis, it changes form with progressive molts. These changes are associated with their mode of life. The first instar larva is called a triungulin and is silver fish-like in appearance. This form actively seeks out grasshopper egg pods in the soil or in the case of those forms that feed on wild bees may sit and wait on flower heads for these pollinators. In the latter cases, once available it attaches to the bee's hair and is carried back to the nest. Once reaching the nest or egg pod the larvae become more grub-like and eventually legless with progressive molts-at this point all the food necessary for development is provided and legs are no longer needed. Those forms that feed on egg pods are quite beneficial in controlling these pests. One larva is capable of consuming a whole pod (30 eggs) during its development. Those forms that feed on wild bee larvae could be considered destructive because the insects are valuable pollinators.
Images That Excite You (5/31/2016)
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May 30th, 2016
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