Green Tiger Beetle – Superhero or Villain?

CEI volunteer, Kevin Hassan, shares with us the Species of the Month for July: Green Tiger Beetle!

(c) Rory Whytock

For years comics and movies have created superheroes and villains based on species from every part of the animal kingdom. We’ve all heard of Batman, Spiderman, Wolverine, Black Widow and Ant-man, all of whom have powers that are associated with the species they are named after. If the creators of these characters are searching for a new species to base their latest superhero or villain on, I would suggest they look at the Green Tiger Beetle (Cicindela campestris)!

A character based on the Tiger Beetle would certainly look the part. Iridescent green, with long purple legs and yellow spots on its back, it is ideally camouflaged for hunting prey in its preferred habitats of grassland, heaths, dunes and Brownfield sites. As its name suggests, it is a ferocious predator with large eyes and long legs which helps it hunt spiders, caterpillars and ants. It then uses its large mandibles to tear its prey apart. It can even fly short distances if disturbed.

The best time of year to see this remarkable beetle is from April to September. It uses the heat from warm bare ground to power it body which makes it a faster and better hunter. During the summer, it lays eggs in small burrows in the warm ground which help the larvae to develop quickly. Even the larvae are quite ferocious and will lie in wait in their burrows ready to grab a passing spider or ant.

So, have we found a new superhero or have Spiderman and Black Widow finally met their match?

You decide!