We were enjoying a walk at the Ft. Worth Nature Refuge when Martha spotted this Tiger Beetle on a walkway. This was our first find of this species at the Nature Center. We have seen the Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle there occasionally. I know two things about this new (for us) Tiger Beetle. One, they have good vision. Two, they are wary, as the information below states. I never could get closer than about five feet and I could never get to the front or side of this bug. I shot a lot of poor quality photos, all from the rear. Every time I tried to get closer, he would fly about two to three feet. The flight distance was always about the same. I took my eye off of him for one instant, and you know the rest. I estimated his size at about 5/8 inch.
Some information about this Genus and species.......
Common Tiger Beetles, Genus Cicindela
This genus includes almost 900 of the 2600 known species of tiger beetles worldwide. Adults range tremendously in size (5-25 mm) and color and live in habitats from forest and alpine to desert grassland and ocean beaches. They occur on every continent except Antarctica and all but the most isolated oceanic islands. A great variety of soil-surface types are used as foraging habitat by adults and larvae. Adults of most species in this genus forage for food and mate in open areas with little vegetation, but some live on the floor of tropical rain forest. Others are so specialized that they occur only on cliff edges, large boulder tops, or on fallen logs in moist forest. They quickly respond to predators and danger by flying short distances, although a few are flightless.
American Tiger Beetles, Subgenus (Cicindelidia)
Confined to the Western Hemisphere, this subgenus contains perhaps 80 or more species, most of which occur in Mexico and Central America. Twenty-one of these species occur in the United States and Canada, and an additional species is hypothetical for its occurrence here. The characters of the subgenus include eyes less protruding and legs shorter than most other groups within the genus Cicindela. Many of the species expose contrasting red-brown to bright orange abdomens when their elytra are spread in flight. Most species of Cicindelidia are active as adults only during the summer.
Punctured Tiger Beetle, Cicindela (Cicindelidia) punctulata
Description: Length 11-13 mm; a highly variable species, it can be black, brown, olive, or metallic green to blue-green above with maculations absent, reduced to small spots and short lines, or rarely complete. The tips of the closed elytra come to a broad point. The body is narrow, espe¬cially the thorax. Below it is metallic green, blue, and copper. Two rows of shallow but distinct pits run parallel along either side of the inner elytral edges.
Distribution and habitats: One of the most widely ranging species in North America, the Punctured Tiger Beetle in the east is found mainly in upland habitats with dry, hard-packed soils and sparse grasses present. These habitats include dusty roads, old trails, pastures, roadside ditches, strip mines, eroded gullies, city lawns, gardens, crop fields, sidewalks, parking lots, rock hillsides, sand pits, and dunes. In the west it occurs most regularly in the vicinity of water, such as the edge of rivers, lakes, marshes, irrigation ditches, temporary ponds, and alkali mud flats from lowland prairies to mountain tops.
Behavior: A solitary species in dry upland habitats of the east, it tends to be more gregarious around limited wet areas in the west. It is wary but is a weak flier with short escape flights. It is commonly attracted to lights at night. Because it so regularly occurs in agricultural areas, there is some evidence that some populations may have developed resistance to pesticides.
Seasonality: A summer active species, adults can be found from April to November, but are most active from July to august. In the southwest, summer rains limit activity to July-September. It over winters as larvae and has a one to two year life cycle.
Information taken from:
A Field Guide to the Tiger Beetles of the United States and Canada
By Pearson, Knisley, and Kazilek
For information and pricing on this book at Amazon.com, Click here.
For a great article on Missouri Tigers in the Missouri Conservationist Online, Click here.
It’s a great article about Tiger Beetles in general.
Two of my favorite blog sites for Tiger Beetles are:
Beetles in the Bush and
Click on the links
If you read this far down the post, and found it interesting and informative,
Please leave a comment. Did you follow the links? Did you enjoy them?
Troy and Martha