You don’t need a tropical vacation to find spectacularly-colored animals. One of the more common spring insects in eastern North America is the lovely six-spotted tiger beetle Cicindela sexguttata.
Tiger Beetles are conspicuous insects with a devoted following among amateur and professional entomologists alike. Because they are often identifiable through photographs, tiger beetles are a great candidate for citizen science. Here, for example, is a range map for C. sexguttata generated by images from the vibrant online BugGuide community:
Fifteen years ago, before the advent of cheap digital cameras and widespread internet, a map made entirely by crowd-sourced contributions would have been unthinkable.
(top 2 photos)
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens on a Canon EOS 7D
ISO 100, f/14, 1/200 sec, diffused 550EX flash.
(bottom 2 photos)
Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 7D
ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec, diffused MT-24EX twin flash.