Antiparasitic Effects of Potentially Toxic Beetles (Tenebrionidae and Meloidae) from Steppe Zones

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Arthropods and specifically beetles can synthesize and/or sequester metabolites from dietary sources. In beetle families such as Tenebrionidae and Meloidae, a few studies have reported species with toxic defensive substances and antiparasitic properties that are consumed by birds. Here we have studied the antiparasitic activity of extracts from beetle species present in the habitat of the Great Bustard (Otis tarda) against four pathogen models (Aspergillus niger, Meloidogyne javanica, Hyalomma lusitanicum, and Trichomonas gallinae). The insect species extracted were Tentyria peiroleri, Scaurus uncinus, Blaps lethifera (Tenebrionidae), and Mylabris quadripunctata (Meloidae). M. quadripunctata exhibited potent activity against M. javanica and T. gallinae, while T. peiroleri exhibited moderate antiprotozoal activity. The chemical composition of the insect extracts was studied by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis. The most abundant compounds in the four beetle extracts were hydrocarbons and fatty acids such as palmitic acid, myristic acid and methyl linoleate, which are characteristic of insect cuticles. The presence of cantharidin (CTD) in the M. quadripunctata meloid and ethyl oleate (EO) in T. peiroleri accounted for the bioactivity of their extracts.