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Carolina Tiger Beetle (Megacephala carolina)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Carolina Tiger Beetle.


 Updated: 2/14/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Carolina Tiger Beetle  
Picture of Carolina-Tiger-Beetle


Large jaws, metallic coloring and stark white legs make the Carolina Tiger Beetle a real standout and a popular addition to collector showcases.





Carolina Tiger Beetles are bright and colorful, therefore they are collected and killed for display, a practice also implemented with butterflies. The metallic, emerald green body is gem-like. The top part of the dorsal (back) side has a reddish-copper gleam. A large white dot at the end of the body marks the bottom edge of each elytron (wing covering). To all that, add bright white antennae, legs and mouth parts. It is a rare color combination and that attracts many beetle and bug collectors. This collecting by humans, coupled with habitat destruction, has led to a decrease in Carolina Tiger Beetle numbers and dispersion.

The Carolina Tiger Beetle is a ferocious predator of many pest insects, so having healthy populations is beneficial. As adults, these predatory beetles consume many insects that humans consider a nuisance: spittlebugs, flies, caterpillars, spiders and ants. This particular species may be considered a natural turf-protector. A study showed it consumes insects that are known to kill the short grass seen on pitches, football fields, and golf courses.The hunting style of this beetle accounts for its 'tiger' moniker. Larvae are worm-like creatures and they reside in vertical tunnels, latching onto the side of the burrow with a hook-like feature on their body. They wait, with their mighty jaws at the surface of the hole. When an unaware insect walks over it, the larva quickly clamps its jaws on the insect, drags it down into the hole, and eats it. To be successful at hiding and hunting, larvae need undisturbed soil or sand. Human foot traffic, ATVs, bikes and other off-road vehicles destroy both the burrow and the insect living in it.
Basic Information
Common Name: Carolina Tiger Beetle
Scientific Name: Megacephala carolina
Category: Beetle


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 10mm (0.20in to 0.39in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: green, white, ivory, black
Additional Descriptors: flying, shiny, metallic, emerald, mouth, jaws, bulging, eyes, spot, white legs, purple, orange




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


Beetle Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American Beetle insect
1
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
3
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
5
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
6
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
7
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Carolina Tiger Beetle may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


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