What a giant beetle! Look at the colours – I’d better stay away!
We spotted this curious giant bug on the way to the beach in the pine woods. We nearly stepped on it as it was dragging its long bottom across the footpath. The creature was huge, around 6cm long and easily to spot due to its striking colors. We were curious to know if it was a bug, an insect or a caterpillar maybe. We didn’t notice any wings at all. But we understood its warning – the colors sent a clear message: Stay away!
The local woods were full of these mysterious creatures and of course we wanted to know more about them. Most of all why they had such striking colors and what animal family they really belonged.
It took us a while to find something about our black and orange friend. But we finally did! It was a ground beetle and really not a creature to mess up with. When threatened it secretes an oily toxic substance that can blister your skin and really hurt your eyes! That’s why it’s called a Blister Beetle or a Red-stripe Oil Beetle (Aceitera or Curilla in Spanish)
The beetle has a habit of feeding on stored food for bee pupa. In its adult form it is herbivorous.
Cross-curricular Learning and Life Skills:
Biology: bugs as a family, Oil Beetle as a bug, life cycles of bugs, herbivores vs. carnivores, woods as habitats, animals’ warning colours
Science: chemical defense mechanisms in animals, animals’ toxicity
Geography: Oil Beetle’s place of living, habitat, climate, geographical location, type of landscape
Safe Kids: animal handling, safe observations, an Oil Beetle as a toxic animal
Multisensory Learning: striking colours of an Oil Beetle, its body shape and movement
Photo location: The Province of Cadiz, Spain
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