February 2015 Biodiversity Spotlight

Festive Tiger Beetle: Cicindela scutellaris scutellaris

Denver Museum of Nature & Science - photos by Chris Grinter

Festive tiger beetles (Cicindela scutellaris) are brightly colored beetles ranging from iridescent reddish bronze to iridescent reddish purple. Festive tiger beetles occur across the United States in sandy, arid areas. These beetles vary in coloration across their range, and there are currently seven recognized subspecies [scutella (pictured above), flavoviridis, leucontei, rugata, rugifrons, unicolor, yampae].

Tiger beetles (Subfamily Cicindelinae) feed on other arthropods. They have large eyes with acute vision and are incredibly fast. Tiger beetles move so quickly that they are unable to gather enough photons to form an image of their prey while running. Tiger beetles must stop pursuit to visualize prey which gives them a peculiar start-and-stop locomotion. Tiger beetles also have ears (tympana) on their abdomen underneath the elytra.

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