I’m sure by now Mr. Phidippus is wondering where his loot is. You see, some months ago Mr. Phidippus won BitB Challenge Session #5 with a solid string of 1st and 2nd place finishes in that session’s five ID and super crop challenges. The top three points earners at the end of each session are offered a variety of prizes, and among the choices offered Mr. Phidippus chose to receive a small collection of beetles from my collection. However, I’ve been remiss in my follow up, with only a heavy travel schedule and seemingly endless string of commitments when I am at home to offer as excuses for such.
At long last, however, I am making things right and have put together this small synoptic collection of tiger beetles that I hope Mr. Phidippus will find useful. Some of the species selected might be common in some areas, while others are certainly found very seldomly—and even then only by those who know what they are looking for. Nevertheless, one of the most fascinating features of tiger beetles is their extreme polytopism, so even commonly encountered species can look very different depending on what part of their range they come from. A perfect example of this is Cicindela scutellaris, represented in the box above by three individuals: one from Kansas (subspecies scutellaris), one from northeast Missouri (subspecies lecontei) and one from southeast Missouri (an unusual population representing an intergrade of subspecies lecontei and subspecies unicolor). Ranging from wine-red to blue-green to brilliant red and green, they are perhaps the best example of tiger beetle polytopism gone wild!
So, Mr. Phidippus this one is for you. Congratulations again on your win, and thank you for your patience!
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2013