Six Spotted Tiger Beetle Ovipositing

A short observation of six-spotted tiger beetle ovipositing recorded on April 30th 2013 in Sandy Creek Park, Athens, GA. Since this is a long (more than 30 minutes) observation, the middle portion of the footage is sped up 3x for brevity.

Due to abundant rainfall in spring (and summer) of 2013, Oconee river flooded its banks fairly often. This tiger beetle (Cicindela sexguttata) with rather faint spots on her abdomen was ovipositing in the softened trail soil. In my opinion this was a mistake. The larvae would have very little chance to survive in the middle of the well trodden trail. But hey, who am I to teach people how to live?

These predatory insects move incredibly fast on the ground and are rather difficult to photograph. The photographic sequence documenting predatory behavior of a male African tiger beetle is quite interesting for that reason alone. Oviposition is one of the rare times when these restless beetles sit still for more than half hour.

Oviposition is the beginning of life cycle in all arthropods. Tiger beetle uses her ovipositor to dig a burrow on the ground and deposits an egg. Egg develops into a larvae which feeds on other insects it captures and pulls in the burrow. You can see what a burrowing tiger beetle larvae looks like an observation in Mozambique. The larvae lives in its burrow until next season. It turns into a pupae and hatches out and emerges as an adult in spring.

 

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