Chasing Tiger Beetles
|Cicindela sexguttata, photographed in early spring at Medway Creek, 2010
I tried to document as many tiger beetles as I could besides other insects (such as butterflies that I discussed in the previous post), herptiles, birds and mammals. And out of these, most challenging were obviously the Tiger Beetles. You know the reason why, but I had quite an idea of how to get close enough for a photograph through countless tries. I am talking about photographing Tiger Beetles using a Point-and-shoot (PNS) camera with no high-end super-macro lenses. Using a PNS strips the photographer of the privileges of shooting the subject from a distance, which is practically possible but the result is photographically insufficient. In order to obtain that near-perfect shot for any PNS, the photographer has to be as close as possible, but not too close to scare the subject.
|C. sexguttata was observed feeding on ants at Medway Creek, Spring 2010
The biggest deal after you know where to find one is when to find one. The best season to find tiger beetles in Canada is spring, summer and late summer (March to October). Only a few Tiger beetle adults emerge during early spring, the best example is Cicindela sexguttata. As summer proceeds, many more show up and the diversity peaks with the passing season. By the end of August and early September, the diversity dwindles again – it’s time for the adults to hibernate (while some die) and for the grubs to wait for next season.
|C. sexguttata, seen basking on a log during noon at Turkey Point, Summer 2010
|C. formosa feeding on an unidentified beetle. It only consumed the soft parts and left behind the exoskeleton.
Photographed at Long Point, 2010
There are approximately 2,600 species (Pearson and Volger, 2006) (2,100 or 2,300 according to Wikipedia and Pearson, 2001 respectively) of Tiger Beetles known to science. About 930 species of Carabidae (or Ground Beetles) are found in Canada (CBIF), and 109 species of Tiger Beetles in North America (Pearson and Volger, 2006). In Ontario, about 14 species (University of Guelph, 2000) of Tiger Beetles occur. Their numbers are usually concentrated around the Great Lakes, especially along the sandy shores and sand dunes, rocky shores and the alvars. A few species are found farther from the lakes as well, especially around rivers and streams.
|...yet another photograph of C. sexguttata, showing the typical six spots (that may or may not be present) giving it
the common name Six Spotted tiger beetle. The common name is not to be confused with
Six Spotted ground beetle, Anthia sexguttata found in India, which is also wrongly called a Six Spotted tiger beetle
Cicindela sexguttata: Commonest tiger beetle. Seen at Medway Creek, Long Point, Turkey Point and Port Rowan.
|the very last picture of C. sexguttata.
|Probably C. longilabris, with some confusion with C. punculata, but due to the some morphological characters and since C. longilabris is seen at Manitoulin Island, I am inclined towards it.
|C. purpurea, one of my favorite tiger beetles of Ontario!
|C. formosa showing the fearsome mandibles that are a nightmare to many pests!
Thank you for reading!