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Brief Summary

    Epicauta: Brief Summary
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    Epicauta is a genus of beetles in the blister beetle family, Meloidae. The genus was first scientifically described in 1834 by Pierre François Marie Auguste Dejean. Epicauta is distributed nearly worldwide, with species native to all continents except Australia. Surveys have found the genus to be particularly diverse in northern Arizona in the United States. Few species occur in the Arctic, with none farther north than the southern Northwest Territory of Canada.

    Adult beetles feed on plants. The larvae are predators on the eggs of grasshoppers. The beetles can significantly damage plants, and many Epicauta are known as agricultural pests around the world, even known to cause crop failures at times. As do other blister beetles, these produce cantharidin, a toxic terpenoid which can kill animals such as horses if they ingest enough of the beetles.

    This is one of the largest blister beetle genera, with about 360 described species as of 2011.

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