Tiger Beetle – Cicindela hirtilabris

Tiger Beetle – Cicindela hirtilabris
Family Carabidae (ground beetles) / Subfamily: Cicindelinae (tiger beetles)
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Live adult tiger beetles photographed at Florida, USA.
The 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.


Body length is typically 9-11 mm. Dorsal surfaces are coppery with large maculations over much of the elytra. White setae cover much of the head and pronotum. Habitat is commonly dry white sand areas including trails, road edges, and open areas with sparse vegetation.

This tiger beetle ranges from 10.5 to 13.5 mm (0.41 to 0.53 inches) in length. Like all tiger beetles, its legs and antennae are long and slender and its jaws are large. The elytra (wing coverings) are white with narrow sinuous bronze markings; the head and pronotum are bronze. The pronotum and sides of the under surface are densely covered with white hairs. The sides of the elytra of males are nearly parallel whereas females are somewhat more broadly rounded. The pale coloration renders the beetle well camouflaged on the light sand where it lives.

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.
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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