Insects are an inescapable part of life in Indonesia, but a recent infestation of one species has got many people itching and irritated. The latest scourge is tomcats, or rove beetles, which are being dislodged from their habitats near areas making way for development.
Many people have suffered acute dermatitis and swelling to the skin after coming into contact with the insects.
Tomcat or Rove Beetle (paederus riparius) has toxin that 12 times more dangerous than poison of the cobra.
Tomcat is poisonous insect. The animal has lesser 1 cm in size. It likes light in the night, so it usually attacks at night. In Indonesia, tomcat is known as semut semai(semai ant) or semut kayap(kayap ant). Yes, tomcat looks similar to an ant. It has a more elongated body with orange and black colors. And the insect is known as tomcat, probably because of its shape like F-14 Tomcat fighter plane.
Tomcat does not bite, but it has toxin (hemolimf fluids) that 12 times more dangerous than poison of cobra snake. The colors of tomcat, orange and black, are sign that the animal has poison. When threatened, tomcat raises its abdomen in the manner of a scorpion. It will release its toxin automatically if touches human skin directly or indirectly. The toxin of tomcat is paederin (C24H43O9N). Paederin can cause serious inflammation or dermatitis or blisters 24 to 48 hours after contact with the skin.