Tiger beetle

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Tiger beetle
Temporal range: Aptian–Recent
Lophyra sp Tiger beetle edit1.jpg
Lophyra sp. in Tanzania
Scientific classification OOjs UI icon edit-ltr.svg
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Superfamily: Caraboidea
Family: Cicindelidae
Latreille, 1802
Tribes [1]
Synonyms
  • Cicindelinae Latreille, 1802

Tiger beetles are a family of beetles, Cicindelidae, known for their aggressive predatory habits and running speed. The fastest known species of tiger beetle, Rivacindela hudsoni , can run at a speed of 9 km/h (5.6 mph; 2.5 m/s), or about 125 body lengths per second. [2] As of 2005, about 2,600 species and subspecies were known, with the richest diversity in the Oriental (Indo-Malayan) region, followed by the Neotropics. [3] While historically treated as a subfamily of ground beetles (Carabidae) under the name Cicindelinae, several studies since 2020 indicated that they should be treated as a family, the Cicindelidae, which are a sister group to Carabidae within the Adephaga. [4]

Contents

Description

Tiger beetles often have large bulging eyes, long, slender legs and large curved mandibles. All are predatory, both as adults and as larvae. The genus Cicindela has a cosmopolitan distribution. Other well-known genera include Tetracha , Omus , Amblycheila and Manticora . While members of the genus Cicindela are usually diurnal and may be out on the hottest days, Tetracha, Omus, Amblycheila and Manticora are all nocturnal. Both Cicindela and Tetracha are often brightly colored, while the other genera mentioned are usually uniform black in color. Tiger beetles in the genus Manticora are the largest in size of the family. These live primarily in the dry regions of southern Africa. [5]

The larvae of tiger beetles live in cylindrical burrows as much as a meter deep. They are large-headed, hump-backed grubs and use their humpbacks to flip backwards, for the purpose of capturing prey insects that wander over the ground. The fast-moving adults run down their prey and are extremely fast on the wing, their reaction times being of the same order as that of common houseflies. Some tiger beetles in the tropics are arboreal, but most run on the surface of the ground. They live along sea and lake shores, on sand dunes, around playa lakebeds and on clay banks or woodland paths, being particularly fond of sandy surfaces. [6]

Tiger beetles are considered a good indicator species and have been used in ecological studies on biodiversity. Several species of wingless parasitic wasps in the genus Methocha (family Thynnidae), lay their eggs on larvae of various Cicindela spp., such as Cicindela dorsalis . [7]

Adaptations

Tiger beetles display an unusual form of pursuit in which they alternatively sprint quickly toward their prey, then stop and visually reorient. This may be because while running, the beetle is moving too fast for its visual system to accurately process images. [2] To avoid obstacles while running they hold their antennae rigidly and directly in front of them to mechanically sense their environment. [8] There are many tiger beetles that hunt in flat, sandy areas, and their eyes have flat-world adaptations, such as high-acuity perception streaks corresponding to the horizon. A tiger beetle uses the elevation of its potential prey in its visual field to determine how far away it is. As visual hunters, tiger beetles tend to hunt in open, relatively flat habitats, such as sand bars, woodland paths, and barren ground scrubland. In this sense, beetles might be expected to use elevation as a distance cue in their visual pursuit of prey. [9]

Fossil record

The oldest fossil tiger beetle yet found, Cretotetracha grandis, comes from the Yixian Formation in Inner Mongolia, China, and dates to the early Cretaceous Period, 125 million years ago. Most fossils found are grey or yellow silty mudstone. [10] Traits that identify Cretotetracha as Cicindelinae include long mandibles shaped like sickles, simple teeth arranged along the mandible's inner surface, antennae that attach to the head between the base of the mandibles and the eye. The left mandible is approximately 3.3 mm and the right mandible is approximately 4.2mm long. A long body form roughly around 8.1mm where the combined eyes and head are wider than the thorax, and long running legs. [10] Previously known Mesozoic fossils of tiger beetles have been described from the Crato Formation, about 113 million years ago [10] and Oxycheilopsis cretacicus from the Santana Formation, 112 million years ago, [11] both in Brazil.

Taxonomy

Tiger beetles had been treated either as a family Cicindelidae or as the subfamily Cicindelinae [12] of the Carabidae (ground beetles) but since 2020, there has been growing evidence for the treatment as a separate family, that is sister to the Carabidae. [4] Many genera are the result of the splitting of the large genus Cicindela , and many were described by the German entomologist Walther Horn. [4] [13] [1]

Genera

Citations

  1. 1 2 Duran, Daniel P.; Gough, Harlan M. (2020). "Validation of tiger beetles as distinct family (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae), review and reclassification of tribal relationships". Systematic Entomology: syen.12440. doi: 10.1111/syen.12440 . ISSN   0307-6970.
  2. 1 2 Friedlander, Blaine (1998-01-16). "Cornell News, Jan. 16, 1998 When tiger beetles chase prey at high speeds they go blind temporarily, Cornell entomologists learn". News.cornell.edu. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
  3. Pearson, D.L. & F. Cassola, 2005
  4. 1 2 3 Vasilikopoulos, Alexandros; Balke, Michael; Kukowka, Sandra; Pflug, James M.; Martin, Sebastian; Meusemann, Karen; Hendrich, Lars; Mayer, Christoph; Maddison, David R.; Niehuis, Oliver; Beutel, Rolf G.; Misof, Bernhard (October 2021). "Phylogenomic analyses clarify the pattern of evolution of Adephaga (Coleoptera) and highlight phylogenetic artefacts due to model misspecification and excessive data trimming". Systematic Entomology. 46 (4): 991–1018. doi: 10.1111/syen.12508 . ISSN   0307-6970.
  5. Pearson, David L. (2001). Tiger beetles : the evolution, ecology, and diversity of the cicindelids. Ithaca: Comstock Publishing Associates. p. 261. ISBN   0801438829.
  6. Werner, K. 2000
  7. Burdick, D.J. and Wasbauer, M.S. (1959). "Biology of Methocha californica Westwood (Hymenoptera: Tiphiidae)." Wasmann Jour. Biol. 17:75-88. Department of Environmental Conservation
  8. "Blinded by speed, tiger beetles use antennae to 'see' while running". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
  9. Layne, J. E., Chen, P. W., & Gilbert, C. (2006). The role of target elevation in prey selection by tiger beetles (Carabidae: Cicindela spp.). Journal of Experimental Biology, 209(Pt 21), 4295–4303.
  10. 1 2 3 Zhao, Xiangdong; Zhao, Xianye; Chen, Lei; Wang, Bo (2019). "The earliest tiger beetle from the Lower Cretaceous of China (Coleoptera: Cicindelinae)". Cretaceous Research . 94: 147–151. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2018.10.019. S2CID   134441297.
  11. Gough, Harlan M.; Duran, Daniel P.; Kawahara, Akito Y.; Toussaint, Emmanuel F.A. (2018). "A comprehensive molecular phylogeny of tiger beetles (Coleoptera, Carabidae, Cicindelinae)". Systematic Entomology . 44 (2): 1–17. doi:10.1111/syen.12324. S2CID   54046862.
  12. Gough, Harlan M.; Duran, Daniel P.; Kawahara, Akito Y.; Toussaint, Emmanuel F.A. (2019). "A comprehensive molecular phylogeny of tiger beetles (Coleoptera, Carabidae, Cicindelinae): Molecular phylogeny of Cicindelinae". Systematic Entomology. 44 (2): 305–321. doi:10.1111/syen.12324. S2CID   54046862.
  13. Baca, Stephen M.; Gustafson, Grey T.; Alexander, Alana M.; Gough, Harlan M.; Toussaint, Emmanuel F. A. (October 2021). "Integrative phylogenomics reveals a Permian origin of Adephaga beetles". Systematic Entomology. 46 (4): 968–990. doi:10.1111/syen.12506. ISSN   0307-6970. S2CID   237486703.

General and cited references

Related Research Articles

<i>Cicindela</i> Common tiger beetles

Cicindela, commonly known as common tiger beetles, are generally brightly colored and metallic beetles, often with some sort of patterning of ivory or cream-colored markings. They are most abundant and diverse in habitats very often near bodies of water with sandy or occasionally clay soils; they can be found along rivers, sea and lake shores, sand dunes, around dry lakebeds, on clay banks, or woodland paths.

<i>Omus</i> Genus of beetles

Omus is a genus of tiger beetles, subfamily Cicindelinae. Its members are dark colored, nocturnal, and flightless. All members occur along the west coast of North America.

<i>Lophyra</i> Genus of beetles

Lophyra is a genus of tiger beetles in the family Cicindelidae capable of flight. They are found in Africa, Asia, and Europe

<i>Brasiella</i> Genus of beetles

Brasiella is a genus of tiger beetles in the family Cicindelidae. There are more than 50 described species in Brasiella.

<i>Dromica</i> Genus of beetles

Dromica is a genus in the beetle family Cicindelidae. There are at least 190 described species in Dromica, found in Africa.

<i>Ellipsoptera</i> Genus of beetles

Ellipsoptera is a genus in the beetle family Cicindelidae. There are about 13 described species in Ellipsoptera, found in North America.

Euryarthron is a genus in the beetle family Cicindelidae. There are more than 20 described species in Euryarthron, found in Africa.

<i>Leptognatha</i> Genus of beetles

Leptognatha is a genus in the beetle family Cicindelidae. There are more than 30 described species in Leptognatha.

<i>Megacephala</i> Genus of beetles

Megacephala is a small genus of beetles in the family Cicindelidae restricted to Africa; it was formerly a much larger genus, but its constituent species have been subsequently placed in other genera, primarily Tetracha, but also Grammognatha, Metriocheila, Phaeoxantha, and Pseudotetracha.

<i>Myriochila</i> Genus of beetles

Myriochila is a genus of tiger beetles in the family Cicindelidae, containing the following species:

<i>Polyrhanis</i> Genus of beetles

Polyrhanis is a genus in the beetle family Cicindelidae. There are more than 50 described species in Polyrhanis.

<i>Prothyma</i> Genus of beetles

Prothyma is a genus in the beetle family Cicindelidae. There are more than 40 described species in Prothyma.

<i>Pseudoxycheila</i> Genus of beetles

Pseudoxycheila is a genus of beetles in the family Cicindelidae, containing the following species:

<i>Tricondyla</i> Genus of beetles

Tricondyla is a genus of tiger beetles in the family Cicindelidae. There are more than 40 described species in Tricondyla, found in South and Southeast Asia, and in Oceania.

Cicindela aulica is a species in the tiger beetle family Cicindelidae. It is found in Africa, southern Europe, and southwest Asia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cicindelini</span> Tribe of beetles

Cicindelini is a tribe of tiger beetles in the family Cicindelidae, containing the overwhelming majority of genera and species in the family. There are more than 90 genera and 2,000 described species in Cicindelini.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Megacephalini</span> Tribe of beetles

Megacephalini is a tribe of big-headed tiger beetles in the family Cicindelidae.

Calochroa is a genus of beetles belonging to the family Cicindelidae. Some authors treat them within the broader genus Cicindela. The genus as used in 2020 shows polyphyly with Calochroa species forming two clades with one clade being a sister to the genus Lophyra and another being a sister to the genus Hipparidium.