|Tiger Beetle – Cicindela punctulata|
Family: Carabidae (ground beetles) / Subfamily: Cicindelinae (tiger beetles)
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Live adult tiger beetles photographed at Winfield, Illinois. Commonly called Sidewalk tiger beetle.
Tiger beetles are members of the suborder Adephaga within the Order Coleoptera. 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 (in most common genera of cicindelids). The tarsi are five-segmented. Adult beetles of the families Cicindelidae (tiger beetles) and Carabidae (ground beetles) are quite similar morphologically, and some entomologists place the tiger beetles in the subfamily Cicindelinae within the family Carabidae. 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.
This beetle is an active predator and can be found hunting along footpaths and walkways through deciduous or mixed woodlands and increasingly in more suburban settings. Since the adults overwinter in their original pupal burrows, they are some of the earliest "big" flying insects out and about come springtime.
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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