Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring's Tiger Beetle

I've identified the tiger beetle I wrote about last Tuesday as the Six-spotted Tiger Beetle, Cicindela sexguttata. It's a beautiful and common tiger beetle, and is usually connected with wooded areas.

I found this one during a field trip for my Lower Plants class (yes yes, it's not a technically correct term, but it's a much easier name for the course than some alternatives), where it was hanging out around a dead log with a few other tiger beetles. I haven't found many tiger beetles before, so I was very excited. I didn't have an insect net with me, nor would it have helped me much, so I crouched down and slowly crept forward.

I got as close as I could without scaring it away, and pounced like a cat, cupping it in my hands. Surprisingly, I caught it on my first try. I tried to find it in my fist full of leaves and didn't want to hold it too tightly, in fear of squishing it. I wasn't worried that it had escaped my grasp since I kept feeling it bite me.

They're not called tiger beetles because they're furry. (Even though they are kind of furry.)

Its bite doesn't hurt as much as I was expecting. But don't try telling that to the insects this beetle eats.

 If you haven't noticed by now, this beetle has amazing coloration. It ranges from metallic-green to metallic-blue, colors that you probably don't associate with the insects of Ohio. It's a real gem to see, and despite its bright color, it's surprisingly easy to miss in the field unless you pay attention.

 The Six-spotted Tiger Beetle is active during the Spring, and less so during the summer, so if you want to find it, head out to some woods near you soon!

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