|Lophyra sp in Tanzania|
|Subfamily:|| Cicindelinae |
Tiger beetles are a large group of beetles, from the Cicindelinae subfamily, known for their aggressive predatory habits and running speed. The fastest known species of tiger beetle, Cicindela hudsoni , can run at a speed of 9 km/h (5.6 mph; 2.5 m/s), or about 125 body lengths per second. 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.
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 subfamily. These live primarily in the dry regions of southern Africa.
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.
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 .
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.To avoid obstacles while running they hold their antennae rigidly and directly in front of them to mechanically sense their environment.
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.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. Previously known Mesozoic fossils of tiger beetles have been described from the Crato Formation, about 113 million years ago and Oxycheilopsis cretacicus from the Santana Formation, 112 million years ago, both in Brazil.
Tiger beetles were traditionally classified as the family Cicindelidae but most authorities now treat them as the subfamily Cicindelinae of the Carabidae (ground beetles). The most recent classifications, however, have relegated them to a monophyletic subgroup within the subfamily Carabinae, though this is not yet universally accepted. Accordingly, there is no consensus classification for this group, at any level from family down to subspecies, and it can be exceedingly difficult to decipher the taxonomic literature surrounding this group. Many genera are the result of the splitting of the large genus Cicindela , and many were described by the German entomologist Walther Horn.
The genera of tiger beetles include:
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Harpalinae is a huge subfamily of ground beetles that contains 20,000 species. A rarely used common name for the subfamily is the harp beetles. The Harpalinae contain the most apomorphic ground beetles, displaying a wide range of forms and behaviors. Some are, rare among ground beetles, omnivores or even herbivores.
Cicindela hybrida, also known as the northern dune tiger beetle, has a wide distribution in the Palaearctic region.
Lophyra is a genus of predatory beetles in the family Carabidae capable of flight. It contains the following species:
Apteroessa grossa is a species of tiger beetles in the family Carabidae, the sole species in the genus Apteroessa and described on the basis of a specimen from the Coromandel region (Tranquebar) in southern India. It is somewhat large and robust, and is among the few tiger beetles with highly reduced wings making them flightless. There are three known specimens in museums, with varying degrees of damage. The species has not been seen in the wild after its description in the 18th century and is thought to be extremely local in distribution.
Brasiella is a genus of beetles in the family Carabidae, containing the following species:
Dromica is a genus of beetles in the family Carabidae, containing the following species:
Jansenia is a genus of beetles in the family Carabidae, containing the following species many of which are sometimes placed in the genus Cicindela:
Leptognatha is a genus of beetles in the family Carabidae, containing the following species:
Myriochila is a genus of beetles in the family Carabidae, containing the following species:
Neocollyris is a genus of beetles in the subfamily Cicindelinae, in the tribe Collyridini.
Polyrhanis is a genus of beetles in the family Carabidae, containing the following species:
Prothyma is a genus of beetles in the family Carabidae, containing the following species:
Pseudoxycheila is a genus of beetles in the family Carabidae, containing the following species:
Tricondyla is a genus of tiger beetles in the family Carabidae, containing the following species:
Pterostichinae is a subfamily of ground beetles. It belongs to the advanced harpaline assemblage, and if these are circumscribed sensu lato as a single subfamily, Pterostichinae are downranked to a tribe Pterostichini. However, as the former Pterostichitae supertribe of the Harpalinae as loosely circumscribed does seem to constitute a lineage rather distinct from Harpalus, its core group is here considered to be the present subfamily and the Harpalinae are defined more narrowly.
Cylindera dromicoides is a species of ground beetle of the subfamily Cicindelinae. It is flightless and has been found mainly along the Himalayas from India through Nepal and Bhutan and in the Chinese province of Yunnan.
Cicindelini is a tribe of flashy tiger beetles in the family Carabidae. There are about 12 genera and at least 130 described species in Cicindelini.
Harpalitae is a supertribe of ground beetles in the family Carabidae. There are at least 90 genera and 460 described species in Harpalitae.