On a botanical survey Sunday, we encountered scattered iridescent green beetles in multiple locations, perched on gravel like little half-inch long jewels. Unlike most beetles, as we got within 3 feet of them, they darted away in a low erratic flight, landing on another nearby rock. If you were colored this brightly, you too would take evasive measures to avoid being eaten. Our bug man Bruce Bradshaw even captured one in a net which promptly escaped when I tried to transfer it to a container.
Tiger beetles earn their name from their speed as they run and pounce on prey. All tiger beetles are capable of running fast in short spurts due to their disproportionately long legs. Even their larvae attack ants and other arthropods with lightning speed as seen in this video of a British species.
Like the wolf in Goldilocks, they have large eyes and "teeth," the better to eat you with," especially if you happen to be a small arthropod. The large eyes are a valuable asset if you are a predator.
The large white mandibles, give these beautiful insects a ferocious appearance. Predominately daytime hunters, they can even capture their prey in flight. Wikipedia reassures me that "Although they are strong enough to subdue their prey, they do not bite humans unless handled." Good news, they don't hunt humans!
|"My what big teeth you have"- normalbiology|
"The females lay eggs in sandy patches, and the larvae burrow into the ground when they hatch. Here they lie in wait until small arthropods walk by, where then the larvae pounce much like jack in the boxes. The beetles stay in larvae form for about one year before pupating. The beetle has a total lifespan of just under 5 years." WikipediaMore pictures and information on prey and predators at fcps.edu.