Readers of this blog know well (and hopefully share) my affection for tiger beetles (family Cicindelidae). That should come as no surprise, as tiger beetles rank among the most popular of all beetle groups. The reasons for this are many—for me it is their extreme polytopism (geographically based variation in coloration and markings), affinity for extreme habitats, and charismatic behavior (both adults and larvae), while for others it may be from a more basic research perspective (e.g., thermoregulatory behaviors, molecular phylogeny, and visual physiology) or as models for conservation research. I think most, however, will simply declare that tiger beetles are just… well, cool! That is the perspective of Harry Zirlin, who wrote this charming little article entitled, Planet’s Coolest Critters – Tiger Beetles at PetsLady. After introducing the group and its diversity, lifestyles, and behaviors, Harry notes the increasing popularity of tiger beetles with birders, butterfly watchers and nature photography buffs and the recent proliferation of field guides that have enabled their elevation to the ranks of “watchable wildlife.” Maintaining tiger beetles in terraria allows an even closer look at their beauty and behaviors, and Harry gives some useful tips on how best to accomplish this. It’s a pleasant little read, and I recommend you check it out!
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012