Skip to main content

Hairy-necked Tiger Beetle

Sure, I know you've eagerly awaiting info on this stunning beast, but wait! The tiger beetles are really interesting creatures. And many of them seem to be in a state of decline, as a number of species are very habitat-specific and their haunts have suffered. At least nineteen of them in the genus Cicindela are - or were - known from Ohio.

You may know this one, the Six-spotted Tiger Beetle, Cicindela sexguttata, which is common throughout Ohio. If you see an astonishingly rapid, iridescent green beetle shooting along the path ahead of you, it may be this. A close look will reveal six tan spots along the edges of the carapace.

This is the beach along the north shore of Kelleys Island, home to one of few populations of the much rarer Hairy-necked Tiger Beetle, Cicindela hirticollis. And this may be the largest group ever assembled that is specifically looking for them. We took a trip over to the island the Friday prior to the big warbler symposium two weekends ago, and Judy Semroc and Larry Rosche quickly found the beetles; a new station for them, I believe.


A Hairy-necked Tiger Beetle racing along the beach. Extraordinarily wary for an insect, some patiance is required for a close approach. Around here at least, this species seems to need largely unmolested sands of Lake Erie beaches. Intense use by people undoubtedly drive it out, and that's been the fate of most Ohio beaches.


Two days later, while leading a field trip to the beach at Sheldon Marsh as part of the warbler symposium, Ben Warner and I found some Hairy-necks there. Ben, amazingly, was able to snag one. After study and photos, it was released unharmed. Sorry about the blurriness of the shot; nonstop rain that day and I couldn't keep the camera lens dry. Still, you can see the ornate markings on the upper wings that characterize tiger beetles. They can be quite difficult to spot against the sand, though.

Voracious predators, as you might deduce from the large pincers. They in turn are preyed upon by many other insects. Tiger beetles warrant monitoring, as many species seem especially vulnerable to habitat degradation.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.


So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…