Fire Beetle

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The Fire Beetle is a curious insect creature that has gained some rather undeserved notoriety in folklore. The creature possesses an intriguing mechanism that allows it to spit sparks as a means of defense.

Physical Description

A Fire Beetle's body has a generally oblong shape, being longer than it is wide. Like other beetles, it has six legs and two antennae. It is a reddish-black colour, and in the adult stage measures about an inch. Fire Beetles have no wings, and are thus incapable of flight.

Fire Beetle eggs are of minute size, though they are easily seen in the dark due to the reddish glow they emit, which is similar in appearance to the embers of a flame. The larvae are, by comparison, exceedingly dull, being of an ashen grey colour.

Defense Mechanism

The Fire Beetle has the uncanny ability to spit its own blood, which then combusts into an ember the size of a spark. Scholars have, as of yet, been unable to understand how this combustion occurs. Contrary to popular belief (see Folklore and Superstition, below), the sparks are not large enough to harm anything larger than a common field mouse, and do not burn long enough to cause anything stouter than a piece of parchment to burn.

Uses in Alchemy

A fire beetle's blood is a valuable alchemical component. It is used as an active ingredient for alchemical solutions such as Oil of Flame, and other fire-related alchemies.

Folklore and Superstition

The fire beetle has been the subject of many local legends and superstitions, due to its fiery defense mechanism. Many legends state that if a fire beetle lands on or near a person, he or she will spontaneously combust, either immediately or within a certain time frame (the next day, by sunrise, by the next full moon, etc.) Such legends are widespread, but due to the many discrepancies between various local tellings of the tale, serious scholars do not place much stock in them.

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