Texas Beetle Information

Return to Texas Entomology - Compiled by Mike Quinn

Master Blister Beetle

Lytta magister Horn

Family Meloidae, Subfamily Meloinae, Tribe Cerocomini


(Borrego Palm Canyon)

Anza Borrego Desert SP, Borrego Springs, San Diego Co., CA
March 03, 2005 (M Stangeland & K Davis)

Range: Mojave and Colorado Deserts.

Adult Activity: Spring

Similar Species: 

There are 69 species of Lytta widely distributed in the Nearctic, but primarily western U.S. and Mexico.

Texas Taxa:

Lytta aenea Say 
Lytta biguttata
Lytta cribrata
Lytta fulvipennis
Lytta lecontei
Lytta mutilata
Lytta reticulata


In Europe, cantharidin (a chemical that causes irritation and blistering to sensitive tissues) was collected from the old world blister beetle called the Spanish Fly (Lytta vesicatoria) and taken orally for its purported qualities as an aphrodisiac. 

Spanish Fly - Wikipedia


Blister Beetles - TAMU
Blister Beetles - Featured Creatures - University of Florida


lytt, =a (G). Madness, rage
magist, =er, r (L). A teacher, master


Arnett, R.H., Jr., M.C. Thomas, P.E. Skelley & J.H. Frank. (editors). 2002. American Beetles, Volume II: Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea. CRC Press. 861 pp.

Borror, D.J. 1960. Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms. National Press Books, Palo Alto. 134 pp.

Brown, W.D. 1990. Size-assortative mating in the blister beetle Lytta magister (Coleoptera: Meloidae) is due to male and female preference for larger mates. Animal Behaviour 40: 901-909

Selander, R.B. 1960. Bionomics, Systematics, and Phylogeny of Lytta, a Genus of Blister Beetles (Coleoptera: Meloidae). Illinois Biological Monographs: Number 28. 295 pp.

White. R.E. 1983. A Field Guide to the Beetles of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 368 pp.

01 Oct 2006   Mike Quinn / mike.quinn@tpwd.state.tx.us / Texas Entomology / Texas Beetle Information