Skip to content

Big blistering beetle

Black Oil Beetle Meloe proscarabaeus

I came across this big blister beetle today. It was walking though the grass near the top of a local look out point called Mirador da Miranda, above the town of Carino, in Galicia, NW Spain. It is a good site for lizards as well as many hilltopping butterflies. I picked it up and put it on a rock to photograph, but it kept moving and trying to escape.

Oil beetles such as this produce oily droplets containing cantharadin, a toxin which is secreted by the male and given to the female as a copulatory gift during mating. Apparently she uses it to protect the eggs from predators.

Meloe proscarabaeus is a European oil beetle

This individual produced some liquid but it did not have a noxious smell so maybe she was a female. I am guessing that this is Meloe proscarabaeus, but there are other similar species, including Meloe violaceus, the violet oil beetle. These beetles have an extraordinary life cycle with tenacious little parasitic larvae that attach themselves to solitary bees and return to their nests. There they feed on the bee’s eggs and the pollen and nectar.

This was the first blog I managed to write using my mobile phone!😄



rcannon992 View All

I am a retired entomologist with a background in quarantine pests and invasive invertebrates. I studied zoology at Imperial College (University of London) and did a PhD on the population dynamics of a cereal aphid (Metopolophium dirhodum) in the UK. I spent 5 years with the British Antarctic Survey studing cold hardiness of Antarctic invertebates and 17 years with the Food and Environment Research Agency. My main interests now are natural history, photography, painting and bird watching.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Jonathan Pomroy

Wildlife & Landscape Artist

the glyptodon

Stories of natural history


Research blog of Renee Rossini

Notes on a Spanish Valley

Award-winning blog - Living in rural Andalucia

The Art of Blogging

For bloggers who aspire to inspire

walter sanford's photoblog

Showcasing some of my digital photography and videography.


Science, skepticism and dragonflies

Paths Unwritten

Lost Cities. Forgotten Spaces. Curious Places.

Q13 FOX News

Seattle and Western Washington's source for breaking news, weather, and sports. Home of Washington’s Most Wanted and the Seattle Seahawks.

Spanish Linguist

a linguist writes about Spanish

Ray Cannon's nature notes

Every picture tells a story

Too Lazy To Weed

The not so ordinary wildlife of an ordinary (but scruffy) garden

Nature etc.

Books, birds and tales from the wild

Juha Lappalainen photography

The way I see the world around me...

Wandering with Butterflies

and other Lepidoptera

Andrew Szopa-Comley

Exploring the natural world.

%d bloggers like this: