Saturday 29 September 2012

A new species of Blister Beetle from southeast Iran.

Blister Beetles (Meloidae) are a widespread group of Beetles, easily distinguished by their elongate shape and bright colours, which serve as a warning to predators. The Beetles secrete Cantharidin, a toxic chemical which acts as a blistering agent, when alarmed. The adult Beetles are primarily pollen and nectar feeders, but the larval forms are carnivorous, often consuming Bees or Grasshopper eggs.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 4 September 2012, Sayeh Serri of the Insect Taxonomy Research Department at the Iranian Research Institute of Plant Protection and Zhao Pan and Marco Bologna of the Dipartimento di Biologia Ambientale at the Università Roma Tre, describe a new species of Blister Beetle from Kerman Province in southeast Iran. The new species is based upon speciemens collected in 1969 and placed in the collection of the Hayk Mirzayans Insect Museum of the Iranian Research Institute of Plant Protection, the paper being part of a wider study on the Blister Beetles of Iran.

The new species is placed in the pre-existing genus and sub-genus Mylabris (Mylabris), and given the specific name barezensis, in reference to the Jebal Barez mountain range, where the Beetles were collected. Mylabris (Mylabris) barezensis is a 10-15 mm black Beetle with sub-oval brown spots.

Mylarbris (Mylabris) barezensis. Serri et al. (2012)