I'm particularly interested in whether any insects are poisonous to the touch. Note that toxic-bristled caterpillars are actually venomous, since in all species I'm familiar with, the bristles puncture the skin. If there are any arthropods poisonous to the touch, I'm also curious as to what the most dangerous one is, but that may be beyond the bounds of this site.


1 Answer 1


The blister beetle genus Meloe, also known as oil beetles, secrete an oily substance containing a poison called cantharadin which causes blistering and swelling of the skin.

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Source: http://statebystategardening.com/state.php/articles/do_not_touch_these_backyard_bugs

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    $\begingroup$ I agree with Kurt, but there is a great deal of variance in the concentration of cantharadin among blister beetle species. Some millipedes (Myriopoda: Diplopoda) also ooze toxic secretions from glands along their sides. sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305197815001167 $\endgroup$
    – Karl Kjer
    Dec 29, 2017 at 21:01

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