Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Blister beetle on Penstemon cobaea

with 22 comments

On April 8th in Round Rock I came across this blister beetle in the genus Pyrota, apparently P. lineata or P. bilineata. The flower is the kind of foxglove, Penstemon cobaea, that you saw from farther back in a post here last month. Thanks to bugguide.net for identifying the genus of the beetle.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 15, 2018 at 5:05 AM

22 Responses

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  1. A cute bug there! Well spotted!


    May 15, 2018 at 7:35 AM

  2. I wondered why it was called a blister beetle, and was surprised to learn how toxic they can be: not only to people, but also to horses and cattle that consume hay in which the beetles have been crushed, releasing their toxin. I found an article in an Arizona newspaper about a woman who’d been bitten by one, and her description of the experience reminded me of my encounter with an asp. Her arm also had what appeared to be several large blisters; the creature seems to be aptly named.


    May 15, 2018 at 9:46 PM

    • Just this morning I happened to read a post about oil beetles at


      The fifth paragraph explains why blister beetles are called what they are.

      Your encounter with an asp fortunately wasn’t like Cleopatra’s.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 15, 2018 at 11:04 PM

      • That was interesting, and more complete than other explanations I read. The fellow certainly does get into his insects — and vice-versa. I haven’t quite had the courage to watch the video attached to this post yet.


        May 16, 2018 at 7:54 AM

        • I don’t blame you for demurring. As the notice on the video warns, once you watch it you can’t unwatch it. I’d have stopped at taking excellent photos of insects, which the guy clearly does. His experiment goes above and beyond any call to duty I’d ever heed.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 16, 2018 at 8:07 AM

  3. And from New Zealand more unfortunate encounters between human and blister beetle. I am glad you kept your distance from the blister beetle.


    May 16, 2018 at 2:07 AM

  4. Foxglove? That sounds more appealing than our common name for them. In the Northwest, foxglove are digitalis.


    May 16, 2018 at 11:52 PM

  5. Wonderful colours Steve .. the bug looks like he has his Pjs on 😉


    May 18, 2018 at 6:07 PM

  6. I’ve seen these guys around, but didn’t know that’s what they were. Thank goodness I’ve never been bitten by one. I’d have to set a blistering pace out of there!


    May 31, 2018 at 8:49 AM

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