Iron Cross Blister Beetle
I posted a photo of this colorful beetle here but didn’t know what it was. Then wouldn’t you know it, fellow bloggers helped me with an identification. Kathie of Kathiesbirds alerted Doug from Gossamer Tapestry and he identified this Iron Cross Blister Beetle. So I Googled it.
“Normally these beetles emerge in large numbers in mid to late spring and move together in bands crawling or running across the ground. [I only saw one.] They feed on succulent leaves and flower petals. The larva stage is subterranean and likely is parasitic in nests of ground-nesting bees.
“Iron Cross Beetle's conspicuous coloration is related to the fact that they carry cantharidin toxins that can interfere with the vertebrate nervous system - i.e. it is an aposemtic [coloration] warning. In case you were wondering, you should not eat these insects.”