Facts about tiger beetles
Tiger beetle facts
- Tiger beetles are voracious predatory sun-loving insects. Their S-shaped larvae are also predators which construct vertical burrows in dry soil and seize prey in strong jaws. They are the fastest land insects in the world.
- Tiger beetles prey on a wide range of ants,flies,grasshoppers,nymphs ,spiders and even on other beetles.
- Tiger Beetles are fluid feeders and use what is called ‘pre-oral digestion’ i.e. digestive juices are secreted onto the prey while it is held and crushed by the mandibles which possess a special molar-like tooth to aid in this mastication. It looks like it is squeezing its jaws open and shut at the same time as it is sucking in.
- The tiger beetle’s ability to see shuts down after it accelerates toward prey. If they move too quickly, they don’t gather enough photons (illumination into the beetle’s eyes) to form an image of their prey.
- The tiger beetle has a body length of only 10 millimeters, and its running speed of 0.53 meters per second becomes 53.87 body lengths per second, or relatively 10 times faster than our best human sprinter. Usain Bolt would have to run a 200 meter race in 0.87 seconds to equal the relative quickness of the fastest Australian species
- The location with the largest concentration of diverse Tiger Beetle species in the United States is Arizona.
- “If a military designer needed a model for a perfect combination of jeep and aircraft, able to switch from one to the other instantly, he need look no further than these feisty little creatures.” (Kevin Fitzgerald)
- All Northeast species hibernate at least once per generation.
- Tiger beetles have a 6 week life span.
- “They are tigerlike predators. They lurk around and rush out to grab things that are passing, chewing them up like tigers.” (John Wagner)
see (Gordon’s Tiger Beetle Page) and the excellent Helium articles