23 July 2012

Tiger beetle larva

I didn't understand the photo above, posted at the butterfly forum where Wisconsin enthusiasts report their observations.  It was labeled as "tiger beetle larva" - an incidental finding during a North American Butterfly Association field trip.  The photo obviously has some motion artifact - but what is it?

A keyword search yielded this image -

- at Beetles In The Bush ("A Prairie Tiger Beetle larva peers up from its burrow in rocky soil of a dolomite glade in the White River Hills of southwestern Missouri. The head of this 3rd-instar larvae is about the size of a pencil eraser.")  The larva uses its blunt head to block its burrow and then waits for prey like an antlion at the bottom of a sand cone.  The very interesting link also offered a more comprehensible side view -

- along with instructions on how to extract the larva from its burrow (not an easy task, because those little hooks on its lower dorsum hold it firmly in the burrow, and it can retreat a substantial distance (inches/feet) when threatened or annoyed.)

You learn something every day.


  1. Similar to Ant Lions here in AZ and elsewhere. The larvae of the Antlion lacewing. In my youth we would tickle the inside of the cone with a blade of grass to see if you could lure him out.

  2. I think that we have these in Alabama. We would put a strand of pine straw into the hole, and when the straw would move, we would quickly jerk the "doodlebug" out. It was like fishing...sort of.


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