Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Tiger Beetle


Splendid Tiger Beetle (Cicindela splendida)
(My best shot at an ID)

Gram for gram, tiger beetles are some of the fastest and most ferocious predators on the planet. They feed on small insects, spiders, and other arthropods. They are fast, agile flyers, and are able to catch insects in the air, though they usually run down their prey and seize it with those sickle-shaped mandibles.

Splendid Tiger Beetles are a spring/fall species. The adult beetles emerge from pupae in the autumn and are active for a few weeks or longer, depending on annual weather conditions. As frosts occur and the weather cools, the adults hibernate for the winter. They emerge from hibernation during the spring and mate and lay eggs. Because they overwinter as adults they are one of the first species to emerge in early spring. C. splendida occurs on clay banks, powerline rights-of-way, dirt roads, and mountain paths. The individual above was photographed in our road.

Tiger beetle larvae are also predators, and have a lifestyle very similar to antlion larvae. They live in vertical tunnels in where they wait for ants, spiders, other other small creatures. When prey gets close enough, the larva pops out and grabs it.


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9 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a handsome bug Marvin. I like the metallic sheen. I wonder if it was washed out or was it ready to come out? Either way it is interesting.

Old Wom Tigley said...

What a great macro... never heard of this, but found this post and the link of great interest.

tom

Cathy said...

I just discovered these attractive insects last spring. I believe mine was the six-spotted variety. Yours is 'splendid' indeed:0)

lisa said...

Pretty...from the side he almost looks like an overgrown Japapnese beetle.

smilnsigh said...

Yes, I'm sure he is splendid. But, I'm not quite so taken with him...

-chuckle-

That separates the boys from the girls, hu? :-)

Lana Gramlich said...

Wow...isn't he lovely!

Ted C. MacRae said...

Hi Marvin -- I can confirm your ID, this is indeed Cicindela splendida. It is distinguished from the very similar Cicindela limbalis by the solid green pronotum (neck).

Nice photo -- Ted

Q said...

Hi Marvin,
I have enjoyed your wildflower posts. Very interesting. I keep hoping I will get out intot he woods soon to see if any of ours are up and blooming yet.
I realy like this bug! Beautiful coloring.
Thanks for a great Sunday afternoon catch up!
Sherry

zhakee said...

Very nice insect photos! That colorful Tiger Beetle is quite nice.