The Tiger Beetle, at first glance, this beetle looks like it accidentally ate a bunch of miracle grow and possibly overdosed on something that it definitely shouldn’t have gotten into. When you first see a Tiger Beetle, you see that it has very large bulging eyes, large curved jawbones that stick out, and very long skinny legs.
The Tiger Beetle is part of a family of beetles that most are known to be nocturnal and live under ground, however some of the Tiger Beetles can be out and about during the daylight hours and are commonly spotted during the hottest days of the year. These large beetles aren’t fat and lazy at all; they have been known to run up to speeds of 5 mph, which in truth would creep anyone out. Any insect that can run faster than a human can cause some paranoia.
Tiger Beetles are said to primarily live in South Africa or along any type of shoreline, as well as in sand dunes. However, recently Tiger Beetles have been noticed to have migrated into areas of the United States. In the state of Arizona alone, there has been 40 different species of Tiger Beetle identified, which would be the location where the largest concentration of diverse Tiger Beetle species anywhere in the United States.
Tiger Beetles have been known to grow up to one and a half inches in length and can be found in a very large variety of colors and shapes. Tiger Beetles have been spotted in some areas of the United States to have bright and dark metallic green colors as well as bright and dark metallic red colors. It seems that the darker colored Tiger Beetles are the prominent nocturnal beetles of the species and the brighter colored are the more daytime active beetles of the Tiger Beetles.
Some Tiger Beetles, like most insects, seem to have a very high attraction to lights, but when caught or trapped tend to give off a bad odor as a way to lure away or distract their predators, with the odor also comes a brownish fluid to hopefully leave a bad taste in their predator’s mouth. Some species of Tiger Beetles also have been known to take flight when chasing down prey. Adult Tiger Beetles are identified by the specific patterns that form on the covers of their wings as well as small hairs that form on their face and head.
Tiger Beetles have many natural enemies. Many animals, such as insect eating birds and larger insects like dragonflies, find feasting on a Tiger Beetle to be their main meal. There are even some species of wasps that like the Tiger Beetle as a healthy snack. One of the Tiger Beetle’s worst enemies is humans. Due to a large portion of the Tiger Beetle living within the sand dunes, humans have inadvertently disturbed and killed off many of the species due to dune buggies as well as dam building. Humans already have many different varieties of insecticides that are designed to kill insects like the Tiger Beetle.
Many species of Tiger Beetles have made it to the endangered species list in the past three years due to increased freshwater runoffs, pollution, pesticides, as well as habitation loss from grazing and or cultivation. In many areas of the United States the trails that are designed to serve hikers and mountain bikes have been identified to be a natural breeding ground to the Tiger Beetle. This actually being a main threat in the Spring when the Tiger Beetle has their mating season and their larva are at risk to being trampled upon by the bikes and other trail travelers.
So, be on the lookout in the warmer weather, the Tiger Beetle may be burrowing around your area!