Meet the Neighbors: Punctured Tiger Beetle

For the introduction to this series, see here.

Ready to go out and find some tigers in your own neighborhood? You say tigers don’t live in your area? Well, then I have a surprise for you! Here is a tiger that I found last week. Well, strictly speaking, it is a tiger beetle. Tiger beetles are common all across the US but many people have never seen one. The trick for finding one is to find a bare sandy area and watch the ground carefully. These beetles run swiftly on their long legs looking for insects (especially ants) and other invertebrates to eat. Their long legs help keep them off the hot surface of the sand so that they do not overheat. You may catch a glimpse of one flying away from you. Watch it to see where it lands. The beetles rarely fly more than a few dozen feet so finding it again is usually pretty easy. Then attempt to creep up on it. If you disturb it more than once it may hide or leave the area so you usually only have one chance to get a good look at it. If you do manage to get close to it admire its beautiful iridescent colors. There are many species of tiger beetle and each has its own beautiful patterns and coloration. Good luck on your tiger hunt!

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