April 20, 2022
This little guy is Lytta aenea, a member of the blister beetle family!
Blister beetles come by their name honestly; the males secrete cantharidin, an odorless, colorless substance that can cause burns or poisoning in large enough quantities. The males give the cantharidin to the females as a gift, and the females use it to cover their eggs to protect them against predators.
If you handle a blister beetle, these secretions can in fact cause your skin to blister. However, blister beetles can also be useful to us humans. For example, cantharidin is collected from blister beetles and used to treat warts. Cantharidin is also frequently collected from the blister beetle Lytta vesicatoria and used as a dubious aphrodisiac; you might know this species of blister beetle by its common name, "Spanish fly."