FAUNA and FUNGHI of MALTA
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Meloe tuccius  Rossi, 1792
Taxonomical Classification:  Animalia / Arthropoda / Insecta / Coleoptera / Meloidae
Common Oil Beetle     Dliela żejtnija
Further Information:
A distintive species with reduced elytra, having most of the abdomen exposed. When threatened, the beetle releases an oily fluid from leg joints which can potentially cause blistering on human skin (the fluid is the insect's haemolymph which contains the poisonous substance cantharidin). Species in this genus have a complex life cycle, starting as immature, mobile triangulins which require a host bee (solitary species) to survive. Triangulins crawl up to flowers, hitching a ride on solitary bees to be carried back to their nests where they feed on the bee's larvae and pollen stores.


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MELO-TUC

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