Family Carabidae - Ground Beetles and Tiger Beetles
Carabidae is one of the largest insect families with over 30,000 species worldwide.
Live adult beetles photographed at North American locations.
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This tiger beetle is an active predator and can frequently be found hunting along footpaths and walkways through deciduous or mixed woodlands. Since the adults overwinter in their original pupal burrows, they are some of the earliest "big" flying insects out and about come springtime. I love the metallic color, and have followed these guys around quite a bit lately (2nd week April) - you can sneak up on them if you move slowly and approach from a low angle - they'll fly off if you blot out large areas of sky - and when it's hot, they can be most uncooperative! These pictures were taken from about 4 inches away.

Green Tiger Beetle
Six-spotted Green Tiger
Tiger Beetle
Tiger Beetle
White Beach Tiger Beetle
White Beach Tiger Beetle
Bombardier Beetle
Bombardier Beetle
Green Tiger Beetle
Adult tiger beetles are characterized by large, prominent compound eyes and eleven-segmented, filiform antennae. The antennae are inserted on the frons above the clypeus and below the eyes. The head, at the eyes, is wider than the pronotum (as in most common genera of cicindelids).

Adult beetles of the families Cicindelidae and Carabidae (ground beetles) are quite similar morphologically. The ground beetles differ in the following ways: antennae inserted above the mandibles to the side of the clypeus, and below the eyes. Most ground beetles have a head, at the eye, which is narrower than the pronotum.

Fiery Searcher Beetle
Fiery Searcher Beetle
Ground Beetle - Scarites sp.
Ground Beetle - Scarites
Ground Beetle Calleida punctata
Calleida Ground Beetle
Ground Beetle
Ground Beetle - Spongopus

References:
1. Boyd, H.P. 1982. Checklist of Cicindelidae: The tiger beetles. Plexus Publishing, Inc. New Jersey. 31 pp.
2. Knisley, C.B. and T.D. Schultz. 1997. Tiger beetles and a guide to the species of the South Atlantic states. Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville. 209 pp.

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Order Coleoptera: Beetles are the dominant form of life on earth: one of every five living species is a beetle. Coleoptera is the largest order in the animal kingdom, containing a third of all insect species. There are about 400,000 known species worldwide, ~30,000 of which live in North America.  Beetles live in nearly every habitat, and for every kind of food, there's probably a beetle species that eats it.
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