T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Beetle (Striped Lax) Thelyphassa lineata

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:  Arthropoda
Subphylum:  Hexapoda
Class:  Insecta
Subclass:  Pterygota
Order:  Coleoptera
Suborder:  Polyphaga
Superfamily: Tenebrionoidea
Family:  Oedemeridae
Genus:  Thelyphassa
Species: T. lineata
Binominal name:: Thelyphassa lineata
Common name: Striped Lax Beetle, Lax beetle.

Thelyphassa lineate is a common native beetle about found in indigenous forests. It is a small 15 mm long light golden brown beetle. It has a black stripe down its pronotum and light black stripes down either side of the abdomen.
Its grubs are found in rotten forest logs when they are still reasonably sound condition.
The adult beetles are thought to reed on pollen and nectar.

Thelyphassa lineate body fluid containing a blistering agent (Cantharidin) that may lead to a burning blistering dermatitis. The report below from the New Zealand Medical Journal. 1987 Aug 26;100(830):515-7. Titled Blister beetle dermatisis in New Zealand by Christmas TI1, Nicholls D, Holloway BA, Greig D. 

“Seventy-four New Zealand Army personnel with a distinctive bullous dermatosis caused by an endemic beetle are described. These are the first reported cases of this condition in New Zealand. The beetle, Thelyphassa lineata (Fabricius) belonging to the family Oedemeridae was shown to be a vesicant species, as skin contact induced blisters in volunteers. This is a previously unrecognised property of this species.”