; subclass Pterygota, order Coleoptera)
Family of beetles, of which the ground-living species have a large, swollen abdomen, reduced elytra, and no wings. Others occur on flowers, are parallel-sided, have normal elytra, have warning coloration, and are fully winged. Meloidae contain cantharidin, a toxin producing skin blisters. Powdered elytra of Lytta vesicatoria (Spanish fly) is used in minute quantities as a supposed aphrodisiac. Larvae are minute and louse-like, with strong claws, and are insect parasites. Some attach to a bee host at a flower and are transported back to the nest, where they feed on host eggs and food stores. There are 2000 species.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.