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Debbie Hadley

Friday Fact - Spanish Fly

By November 2, 2012

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The name Spanish fly actually refers to a species of Eurasian blister beetle, Lytta vesicatoria. The emerald green beetles were once believed to have aphrodisiac properties. The dried, dead beetles were crushed in order to extract their cartharadins, toxic compounds that cause blistering when applied to the skin. The male blister beetles produce the compounds, and pass them on to females during mating. The female coats her eggs in a protective coating of the cartharadins, which is extremely toxic when ingested by predators. Today, cartharadins are used in some topical wart removal products.


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