Tiger Beetles of Nebraska

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Stephen M. Spomer, W. Wyatt Hoback, Doug Golick, and Leon Higley

Tiger beetles (Family Cicindelidae) are aptly-named voracious predators of the insect world. Their beauty, diversity, and wariness make them a favorite among collectors worldwide. Besides their appeal to collectors, researchers find tiger beetles excellent models to study community ecology, biology, morphology, thermoregulation, predator-prey interactions, biogeography, and physiology. All of these aspects make tiger beetles one of the best studied non-pest insects.

Tiger beetles are predacious insects that live in a variety of habitats including stream edges, forests, beaches, and deserts. Tiger beetles are highly active and are well-known for their quick running and agile flying abilities. Many species of tigers beetles are brilliantly colored. Others are camouflaged, blending well into their habitat. About three-fourths of the tiger beetles in North America belong to the genus Cicindela. Species are distinguished by differences in size, coloration, and markings on their wing covers.

Tiger beetles are important components of the ecosystem. They are an important part of the food chain and are also bio-indicators of the environment. The presence or absence of certain species can provide information on the quality of the habitat, successional stage of the habitat, and/or alterations to the habitat.