Less than 1 inch in length
Light, sandy beaches and is active along the water’s edge during warm, sunny summer days
Found along parts of the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay, from the Patuxent River to the mouth of the Bay.
Preys upon flies, fleas and amphipods; will also eat dead crabs and fish
Up to 2 years
The northeastern beach tiger beetle has a mostly sand-colored body, with a shiny, bronze or greenish head and chest. It has white or light tan wing covers, often marked with fine, dark lines. It grows to less than 1 inch in length.
Northeastern beach tiger beetles feed near the water’s edge. They aggressively prey upon flies, fleas and amphipods, and will also eat dead crabs and fish that wash up on the beach.
Larvae are preyed upon by parasitic, ant-like wasps, which paralyze the larvae and lay their eggs on them.
Reproduction and Life Cycle
Beetles mate in late June through August. Females lay their eggs in the sand just above the high tide mark. Eggs hatch in late July through August. Larvae live in vertical burrows in the sand. They keep their head at a right angle at the burrow entrance to camouflage it and watch for prey.
Larvae have two hooks on their abdomen. They dig the hooks into the sides of their burrow so they won’t be pulled out of the burrow when they latch on to prey. Larvae molt and burrow deeper as they develop into adults. They usually leave the burrow approximately two years after they hatched.
Did You Know?
- It is difficult to get close to tiger beetles; when approached, they will quickly fly away.
- Northeastern beach tiger beetles are classified as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act. Tiger beetles have lost habitat due to development, population growth and increased beach use.