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Greenest Tiger Beetle Cicindela
(family Carabidae, subfamily Cicindelinae) by
Greg Ballmer and Dave Hawks
Department of Entomology
by: Greg Ballmer©|
tiger beetles are fast moving, diurnal predators often found along the
shores of rivers, lakes, and estuaries.
On warm days, tiger beetles are active and alert, running swiftly
and engaging in short low flights in pursuit of insect prey.
At night and during cold or inclement weather, tiger beetles seek
shelter by burrowing into the soil.
Tiger beetle larvae also are predaceous and live in vertical
burrows in the soil from which they partially emerge to seize passing
insects with their large, sickle-like mandibles.
Many tiger beetle species are iridescent or metallic red, green,
blue, or purple, while others are plain brown or black.
Most species also have whitish markings on their elytra.
The Greenest Tiger Beetle is a highly localized subspecies of the
widespread species, C. tranquebarica.
It occurs only along the
and near Bautista Creek in
. Formerly, the range was
much greater, extending along the
upstream to Mentone, and possibly along the
as well. Adults emerge in
September and October and actively hunt small insects during the warm
days of fall. They spend
most of the winter underground, and then these same individuals
re-emerge to hunt and reproduce during warm days in March, April, and
May. As its name implies,
this subspecies is just about the brightest green of the many subspecies
of C. tranquebarica found
throughout most of
. Other subspecies of C. tranquebarica are green, blue, reddish, brown, or nearly black,
and also vary in terms of the whitish patterns on the elytra.