Insect identification > Coleoptera > True Coleoptera > Tiger beetles

Tiger beetles

Family Cicindelidae (tiger beetles). - The active flight and bright colors of many of the tiger beetles, though most of them are small insects, only about half an inch long, make the members of this family quite noticeable. They are sun-loving forms, most common along roadsides and in sandy places. When flushed, they fly quickly a few yards, then alight and often turn, facing the intruder as though watching his movements.

Both they and their larvae feed on other insects, the larva living in a burrow in the ground and placing itself at the mouth of the burrow ready to grasp any unwary insect which may come near.

The elytra of the adult are usually metallic brown with light-colored marks sug­gestive of musical characters or perhaps hieroglyphics, though in some cases bright green, purple or other colors dominate.

In the West the largest insect belonging to this family (Amblychila cylindriformis Say) does its hunting at night, as is also the case with certain related forms of the Pacific Coast.