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Tiger Beetle adult
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
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Common Name: Tiger Beetle - adult

Scientific Name: Carabidae (formerly Cicindelidae): several species

Status: beneficial predators

Beneficial Stage: immature and adult

Biology: Adults are 1/2 inch long and have long antennae and legs. With large, bulging, compound eyes, the head measures wider than the thorax. Adults bear large curved and very functional mandibles. Although colors can vary, common species have spectacular metallic blue, green, and bronze coloration.

Adults are very active and are difficult to approach. They fly and run very quickly, and use these assets to both capture prey and avoid being captured themselves. Tiger beetles can run at a speed of 5 miles per hour. For their size, they may be considered the fastest running land animal. Tiger beetles have a peculiar behavior of always facing backwards when landing.

Female tiger beetles lay their eggs in burrows in the soil. Larvae hatch from the eggs, overwinter, and develop through three larval instars. The larvae pupate in the summer and emerge as adults after one month.

Grubs are humpbacked and have a cream-colored abdomen. The larvae darken to brown or black toward the thorax and head. The head is heavily armored and often flexed like a spoon. Larvae also have quite large mandibles for consuming prey.

Value: Both larvae and adults are predators. They usually occur in open spaces, often around river banks and lakeshores. Tiger beetles are voracious feeders on other small insects in their environment. As such, they are considered beneficial.