Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Coleoptera - Beetles >>> Tiger Beetle

Tiger Beetle

Cicindela oregona

Photo © by Michael Plagens

Image taken in Haunted Canyon, Pinal County, Arizona. October, 2006. The image is hosted at Wikipedia where you can find many more beautiful images of these Tiger Beetle gems.

Carabidae -- Ground Beetle Family

    Cicindelinae -- Tiger Beetle Sub-family

Tiger beetles are among the supreme predators of the insect world. They are agile and beautifull insects equipped with ultra-sharp mandibles and ultra-acute eyes. Their long legs and fleet wings allow them to quickly approach and capture potential prey while avoiding predation themselves by larger, vertibrate predators. The best place to find them in the Sonoran Desert is along damp stream beds in riparian habitats.

The preferred habitat must be relatively free of trampling feet and crushing tires because their larval forms are to be found nearby within the sandy substrate. These larvae are formidible predators in their own right - they hunt from verticle tunnels in the moist sand extending out with lightning speed to capture crawling insects that venture within range. Otherwise they remain in the tunnels until maturity avoiding dessication and predation.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008