Readers’ wildlife photos

Today is Tiger Beetle Day, with photos of these gorgeous little jewels contributed by reader Mike McDowell. His notes and IDs are indented.

I’ve been hitting southern Wisconsin’s sandy trails this summer and thought I would share this season’s crop of tiger beetle photographs with you and your readers.
Tiger beetle factoid: Tiger beetles are ectothermic, meaning they’re largely dependent on external temperature sources for thermoregulation. A high internal body temperature (102 degrees Fahrenheit) helps them run and fly at maximum speed for hunting or evading. Being too cold can make a tiger beetle sluggish and become susceptible to predation. On the other hand, an overheated tiger beetle can experience problems with metabolism, water balance issues, and gamete production. This is why on hot days you might observe a tiger beetle moving back-and-forth from shade to sun-baked sand ― this behavior is called shuttling. Tiger beetles will also reduce body surface area exposed to sunlight by standing up high on their legs facing the sun in behavior called stilting.
All photographs were taken with a Nikon 1 V1 and Tamron 60mm 1:1 f2 macro lens.
Six-spotted Tiger BeetleCicindela sexguttata:
Northern Barrens Tiger BeetleCicindela patruela:
Oblique-lined Tiger BeetleCicindela tranquebarica:
Festive Tiger Beetle, Cicindela scutellaris lecontei:
Punctured Tiger Beetle, Cicindela punctulata:
Big Sand Tiger BeetleCicindela formosa generosa:
Sandy Stream Tiger Beetle, Cicindela macra:
Bronzed Tiger Beetle, Cicindela repanda:


  1. Posted August 26, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Earnest theologian to J B S Haldane “What have your studies of the natural world told you about god?”
    Haldane “That he is inordinately fond of beetles”
    Love the pics!

  2. JohnH
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Great series. The variety of the spots (shape, size, color) on the various species are striking.

  3. Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I loves the Cicindella! Very good pictures. I am advised that the best way to get pix of these is to go out early in the cool morning. But I am not a morning person, so this may be a group that largely eludes me.

  4. LDuke
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    For those interested in learning more about these charismatic beetles a good place to start is “A Field Guide to the Tiger Beetles of the United States and Canada”, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2015, by David Pearson The second edition reflects a major taxonomic revision of the tiger beetles in which numerous sub-genera were elevated to the level of genera.

  5. Cruzrad
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful photographs. Thanks!

  6. Heather Hastie
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Lovely creatures.

  7. Don Mackay
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I would like to know how these critters hunt; the nature of their prey. I am puzzled by their eyes. Hunters, especially avian and
    mammalian. have their eyes pointing forward to better judge distances. with their bulging
    eyes( no doubt compound) these beetles must have something else going for them optically.

    • Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      The large, high-set compound eyes allow them to have vision almost all around. They see forward, certainly, and I am not sure but would not be surprised to find that their vision is best in that direction.

      • Don Mackay
        Posted August 27, 2017 at 2:55 am | Permalink

        Thanks for that. Maybe they have a cluster of ommatidia facing forward specially adapted for accurate pinpointing of prey. I am still curious as to what they eat.

        • Mike McDowell
          Posted August 28, 2017 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

          A wide variety of living arthropods; ants, flies, spiders, small crickets & grasshopper nymphs, beetles, and caterpillars.

  8. Posted August 26, 2017 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Nice batch.. thank you for the post.

  9. Posted August 27, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Brilliant! Literally and figuratively. Perfect Caturday present.

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