A different kind of tiger

Six-spotted Tiger Beetles (Cincindela sexguttata) have emerged and can be found underfoot almost everywhere I look these days.

Their metallic green cuticle covering is hard to miss, especially when they are crawling around on bare ground looking for the errant ant, spider, etc.

Named for the six white spots surrounding their rear end, it’s the iridescent, metallic green cuticle that is hard to miss.  They are fast runners and flyers, so finding them sitting still enough for a photo was a rarity for me.

What I didn't appreciate until I looked at the photos on the computer was their enormous mouthparts (whitish overlapping pincers just under the antennae in this enlargement of the previous photo).

What I didn’t appreciate until I looked at the photos on the computer was their enormous mouthparts (whitish overlapping pincers just under the antennae in this enlargement of the previous photo), which make them look pretty ferocious.   Perhaps this is why they were nicknamed Tiger Beetles.

The overlapping jaws of their white mandibles are used to subdue a variety of prey -- caterpillars, ants, spiders.  They hunt primarily on the ground  where their keen eyesight and speed help them secure their food.  Adults can live up to 5 years after emerging from a 1 year larval and pupal development in the soil.

The overlapping jaws of their white mandibles are used to subdue a variety of prey — caterpillars, ants, spiders. They hunt primarily on the ground where their keen eyesight and speed help them secure their food. Adults can live up to 5 years after emerging from a 1 year larval and pupal development in the soil.

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