Oil Beetle

Photo Information
Probably a female Black Oil Beetle, Meloe proscarabaeus, about 3 cm oal. Found on an old log beside the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path at Manorbier.
12/05/2016 - 16:41OldTaffy
CategoryWildlife / Nature
Shutter Speed1/180
Focal Length35mm


Link Posted 13/05/2016 - 00:06
Flippin 'eck -- that's a frightful beast. Well spotted
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link


Link Posted 13/05/2016 - 15:17
Great capture.
Lucky you didn't get stung - you must have been quite close to get that detail on 35mm f/l ?

Best regards


Link Posted 15/05/2016 - 12:47
This beetle doesn't sting, and it didn't try to bite me when I picked it up! In fact it seemed quite docile and happy to scramble about on my fingers instead of going back to its log. However, these Oil Beetles are in a group called 'blister beetles' because when threatened they give off a toxic and very irritant fluid from joints all over their body. The fluid contains cantharidin (better known as Spanish Fly) and other things that cause painful skin blisters. Dried and powdered they used to be used in pre-twentienth-century medicine to deliberately raise blisters in some wierd medical treatments (counter-irritants probably). The less said about the 'recreational' use of Spanish Fly the better - at least one South American dictator died from an excessive use of this pre-viagra stimulant. The beetle has other unpleasant characteristics too - part of the larval stage parasitises the nests of wild bees, according to what I have just read.

Thanks for your comments. I took many photos of this beetle, with my new K-S2 (upgrade from the old K-x). The lens is the excellent smc-Pentax-DA f 2.8 35mm macro limited that I recently bought off a list member. It will focus closer than 14 cm and still give enough sharpness to allow cropping.
A few of my photographs in flickr.
Lizars 1910 "Challenge" quarter-plate camera; and some more recent stuff.
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