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  • Carolina Tiger Beetle - (Megacephala carolina)

    Carolina Tiger Beetle - (Megacephala carolina)

    Large jaws, metallic coloring and stark white legs make the Carolina Tiger Beetle a real standout. This is a major reason they are killed and collected for display.

    Picture of Carolina Tiger Beetle
    Staff Writer (8/15/2014): Carolina Tiger Beetles are bright and colorful, therefore they are unfortunately collected for display as seen with butterflies. This collecting by humans, coupled with habitat destruction, has led to a decrease in their numbers and dispersion. Larvae need undisturbed soil or sand in order to maintain their underground homes, but human foot traffic, ATV joy-riding and other off-road vehicles destroy both the burrow and the insect living in it. More care could be taken in protecting the habitat of this extremely beneficial insect.

    The Carolina Tiger Beetle is a ferocious predator of many pest insects, so having one around is a good thing. The attack style on prey accounts for the 'tiger' moniker for this family of beetles. Larvae are worm-like creatures and they reside in vertical tunnels, latching themselves onto the side with a hook-like feature on their body. They wait, with their mighty jaws at the surface of the hole. When an insect walks over, a larva quickly clamps its jaws on it, drags it down into the hole and eats it.

    As adults, they remain predatory beetles and consume many insects that humans consider a nuisance: spittlebugs, flies, caterpillars, spiders and ants. This particular species may be considered as a natural turf-protector. A study showed it would consume insects that are known to kill short grass seen on pitches, football fields and golf courses.

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    Details of the:
    Carolina Tiger Beetle

    Category: Beetle
    Common name: Carolina Tiger Beetle
    Scientific Name: Megacephala carolina

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Coleoptera
          Family: Cicindelidae
           Genus: Megacephala
            Species: carolina

    Size (Adult, Length): 5mm to 10mm (0.20in to 0.39in)

    Identifying Colors: green, white, ivory, black

    Additional Descriptors: flying, shiny, metallic, emerald, mouth, jaws, bulging, eyes, spot, white legs, purple, orange

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arizona; California; Florida; Georgia; Kentucky; Louisiana; Mississippi; Nevada; New Mexico; North Carolina; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Virginia; West Virginia; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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