Ambush of Tiger Beetles

Yesterday we launched a new Notes from Nature Project related to beetles! The goal is to document the distribution of beetles in time and space, taking advantage of the data associated with millions of specimens in natural history collections. We’re kicking it off with Tiger beetles.

Tiger beetles are some of the most voracious and most beautiful beetles in the world. They are extremely fast creatures, so fast that the world is blur to them as they run. Many have brilliant metallic colors as adults, but others are exquisitely camouflaged to match their background, whether it be small pebbles on the soil or the dazzling whiteness of sands on the beach. The larvae are also predators, lying in wait in the soil before they suddenly explode from their burrow to impale an unlucky insect on their scimitar-like mouthparts. Some species of tiger beetles are common and widespread, but others are found only in small areas: the matching color patterns protect them in that habitat but make it difficult to spread far beyond it. Some of the smallest populations are federally listed as threatened or endangered species. The goal of this project is to document the distribution of tiger beetles to better understand where species are to be found and their intimate relationship with their environment.

If Tiger beetles interest you please give the expedition Ambush of Tiger Beetles a try!

— Luciana Musetti, Curator of the Triplehorn Insect Collection, The Ohio State University

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