CMR Blister Beetle

Mylabris oculata

The CMR Blister Beetle is a large (4cm long) and colourfully-marked beetle in the family Meloidae, notorious for excreting the toxin cantharidin in defence against predators – this can cause blisters when making contact with skin and can even be fatal if ingested, both to humans and livestock.

After mating, the female lays her eggs in the ground. After hatching the larvae of the CMR Blister Beetle feeds on grasshopper eggs (including those of plague-causing locusts), while the adults feed on flowers and, often congregating in large numbers on flowering plants, are considered a pest in gardens and orchards. They are slow-flying insects. Adults are most often seen between late spring and early autumn. CMR Blister Beetles have very few specific habitat requirements and occur in almost every corner of South Africa.

The “CMR” acronym in this blister beetle’s name comes from the Cape Mounted Rifles, a military unit from South Africa’s colonial past whose colours resembled this beetle’s. In turn, the CMR Blister Beetle then became part of the Cape Mounted Rifles’ insignia.



27 thoughts on “CMR Blister Beetle

  1. Vivien Blignaut

    My ouma het hulle aan n draad ingeryg en in hulle in die bome opgehang. Dit was n goeie manier om die ander gomtorre af te skrik!
    My grandma used to string these insects on a thing wire which she then hung in the trees to scare the other insects away. I will never forget how they used to still flutter and made an awful noise but they were not going anywhere.


  2. John

    A very beautiful beetle!😊 I didn’t know there were poisonous beetles. Love your blog because you show all kinds of animals that you have in your terrific country! Animal planet, Nat geo wild and other channels shows almost only large animal animals, lion cheetahs, buffaloes and other larger animals in 99% of the time. Sure, it’s fun to watch, but I want to see all the animals, and you show them! Animal channel in blog form!😄😄😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      That really is what we love to do, John, and thank you for your very kind words. South Africa really is a country so rich in wildlife treasures and we’re glad that we are able to share a tiny bit of it with the world through our blog.

      Liked by 1 person


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