COMMON NAME: TIGER BEETLE
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Order Coleoptera, Family Cicindelidae, many species
SIZE: Adult - 1/4 to 3/4 inches
IDENTIFICATION: Adults are shiny, dark blue-green or black, often with bright-colored markings, large eyes, and long legs. They are very fast runners and strong fliers; they make a buzzing sound. Larvae are segmented and S-shaped; a hump on their back has hooks for anchoring in burrows.
BIOLOGY AND LIFECYCLE: Adults are attracted to light at night. Eggs are laid singly in the soil. Larvae develop there several years where they catch terrestrial prey. Adults also overwinter in the ground. One generation every two or three years. Larvae live in vertical burrows in sandy soil and dry stream beds.
HABITAT: They like open areas, bare ground.
FEEDING HABITS: Adults and larvae eat many plant-eating insects. Adult beetles run their prey down. Larvae ambush them from their burrows. Ants are a favorite food.
NATURAL ENEMIES: Birds, snakes, and scorpions.
ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE: These guys are fierce predators, and although they eat some beneficials, they are considered very beneficial.
NATURAL CONTROL: None needed--very beneficial. Attract them by establishing permanent gardens. Don't leave lights on outdoors and don't use bug light traps.
ORGANIC CONTROL: None needed.
INSIGHT: Closely kin to ground beetles.