Critter of the Week- Installment 1

Written by Lee Anne Hanke

Dear all,

The following is part of a new series designed to share with all of you some of the cool critters on our campus.  Each email will feature a photo of one-two critters found on St. Andrew campus, with a little bit of background text about what they are and what they do.  Brought to you by Science at St. Andrews.

Take care,

Tracy S. Feldman

Did you know we have tigers on campus?  Well, maybe not tigers exactly–these tigers are actually beetles less than 1 inch long.  They are called tiger beetles because they run along the ground to catch the prey insects they eat.  Although their eyesight is great, they run so quickly that their eyes can’t adjust to the movement, so they hold their antennae out in front of them to keep from running into things ( The species in the photo is called the oblique-lined tiger beetle (Cicindela tranquebarica), and it’s one I hadn’t seen on campus until a week ago.  I got a decent photo this week, of a mating pair–males (on top) guard mates to prevent her from mating with other males (,mating%20to%20discourage%20other%20suitors.).  Larvae spend their time in deep burrows in the soil, like the sarlacc in Star Wars, eating any prey that happens to fall in.   Many species tend to like sandy soils, hanging out on open sandy soil, on stream/river banks, or ocean beaches.  If you encounter them, they will stop running and fly away from you, then will often land facing you–so it is hard to sneak up on them.

Tiger Beetle Biology, Life Cycle, & Behavior

Biology, Life Cycle, & Behavior. Egg. Eggs are laid in the soil, usually singly, in a burrow made by the female’s ovipositor (an egg laying tube at the end of the female’s abdomen).

Blinded by speed, tiger beetles use antennae to ‘see’ while running — ScienceDaily

Blinded by speed, tiger beetles use antennae to ‘see’ while running Date: February 11, 2014 Source: Cornell University Summary: Speed is blinding. Just ask the tiger beetle: This predatory insect …