"Blister beetles" and cantharidin
Beetles or, scientifically, Coleoptera are a common sight in the outdoor life of an average Zimbabwean. These insects are generally viewed as friendly, docile, non-biting or non-stinging insects, which can be handled without any untoward effects on the handler. Unfortunately not all beetles fall within this generalisation. This article reviews the chemistry and toxicity of cantharidin, a chemical produced by one group of medically important beetles, commonly referred to as "blister beetles", species of which are found in Zimbabwe (see cover picture).
The Zimbabwe Science News Volume 34(2) June 2000, pp. 27-30