Friday Beetle Blogging: A Six-Spotted Tiger

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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.

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:

The distribution of Cicindela sexguttata, as seen by BugGuide's community. Does anyone in Mississippi want to fill in the gap?

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.


photo details:
(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.

11 thoughts on “Friday Beetle Blogging: A Six-Spotted Tiger”

  1. That my good friend, is Mississippi!
    But as I’ll be down in that neck o the woods i’ll keep an eye out 🙂

  2. A couple of days ago, I was wondering which insect was the most heavily-photographed, and figured that a Google image search would give some idea of relative standings. So, going with a few obvious candidates, we get:

    “Monarch butterfly”: 153,000
    “Honeybee”: 475,000
    “Cockroach”: 420,000
    “Termite”: 682,000
    “Drosophila”: 333,000

    Looks like termites are the winner, with honeybees running second, right? So, now I checked Tiger Beetles:

    “Tiger beetle”: 39,900

    Pretty close to 10% of the number of honeybee pictures. Not half shabby, for a non-pest, non-domesticated insect.

    Granted, that would be for all tiger beetle species, for the green ones we only get:

    Green tiger beetle: 856,000

    Still pretty respectable, though.

  3. Agh, hit submit too early, I meant to erase the last three lines. That big number for “green tiger beetle” was for the search without quotes, which gave some pretty outrageously high numbers.

  4. Anyone else think that Cicindeline stridulation is adorable (squeak squeak) and makes them seem somewhat less ferocious than they look? Maybe its just me.

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