Boiling beetles

Paul G Chee and Scott M Dunkley
Med J Aust 2002; 177 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2002.tb05020.x
Published online: 9 December 2002

A healthy young man, upon placing the palm of his hand on a wooden floor, experienced an immediate severe burning sensation. A small black shiny beetle was found lying partially crushed. The initial burning pain in the palm subsided, but a dull discomfort persisted for several hours. Examination revealed two areas of dark yellow-brown discoloration, resembling the colour of iodine, on the palm (Box 1). These measured about 1 × 2 cm, with a surrounding halo of mild erythema. The affected skin had normal texture, markings, and sensation, and no blistering or vesication was seen. The patient remained systemically well throughout the episode. No evidence of external biting, stinging or defensive apparatus was found on inspection. The skin changes lasted 3–4 days, and resolved completely.

  • 1 Department of Dermatology, Royal Newcastle Hospital, Newcastle, NSW.
  • 2 Department of Haematology, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, NSW.


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