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Antiparasitic Properties of Cantharidin and the Blister Beetle Berberomeloe majalis (Coleoptera: Meloidae)

School of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790, USA
Instituto de Ciencias Agrarias, CSIC, Serrano 115-dpdo, 28006 Madrid, Spain
Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), Arzobispo Morcillo S/N, 28029 Madrid, Spain
Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), CEI Campus Moncloa, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense (UCM), 28040 Madrid, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2019, 11(4), 234;
Received: 4 April 2019 / Revised: 16 April 2019 / Accepted: 18 April 2019 / Published: 22 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arthropod Venom Components and their Potential Usage)
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Cantharidin (CTD) is a toxic monoterpene produced by blister beetles (Fam. Meloidae) as a chemical defense against predators. Although CTD is highly poisonous to many predator species, some have evolved the ability to feed on poisonous Meloidae, or otherwise beneficially use blister beetles. Great Bustards, Otis tarda, eat CTD-containing Berberomeloe majalis blister beetles, and it has been hypothesized that beetle consumption by these birds reduces parasite load (a case of self-medication). We examined this hypothesis by testing diverse organisms against CTD and extracts of B. majalis hemolymph and bodies. Our results show that all three preparations (CTD and extracts of B. majalis) were toxic to a protozoan (Trichomonas vaginalis), a nematode (Meloidogyne javanica), two insects (Myzus persicae and Rhopalosiphum padi) and a tick (Hyalomma lusitanicum). This not only supports the anti-parasitic hypothesis for beetle consumption, but suggests potential new roles for CTD, under certain conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: cantharidin; blister beetle; Berberomeloe majalis; nematicide; ixodicide; antifeedant cantharidin; blister beetle; Berberomeloe majalis; nematicide; ixodicide; antifeedant

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Whitman, D.W.; Andrés, M.F.; Martínez-Díaz, R.A.; Ibáñez-Escribano, A.; Olmeda, A.S.; González-Coloma, A. Antiparasitic Properties of Cantharidin and the Blister Beetle Berberomeloe majalis (Coleoptera: Meloidae). Toxins 2019, 11, 234.

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