Tiger Beetle: Facts You Won't Believe!

Some interesting Tiger Beetle facts.

The Tiger beetles are one of the beetle groups and are aggressive predators with high speed. They belong to the subspecies Cicindelinae, and there are about 2600 subspecies and species of Tiger beetles spread out in Oriental and Neotropic regions. They are found in iridescent green, blue, orange, and red. The fastest tiger beetle species is Cicindela hudsoni, in Australia running at 9 kmph or 125 body lengths per second. The Cretotretacha grandis is one of the earliest fossils found of these species in inner Mongolia, China. The fossils found are mostly gray or yellow-colored silty mudstones. The similarities between Cretotretcha and Cicindelinae are sickle-shaped long mandibles, the antenna on the head in between the mandible and the eye, and teeth arrangement. To escape from the predators, they run or fly 20-30 ft above the ground. When they come across an enemy ant, they will grab and hold onto these ants for a while before jumping to kill them. The tiger beetles differ from the ground beetles even though they are related. Read on to discover more.

You may also enjoy reading about the rhinoceros beetle and Christmas beetle.

Tiger Beetle

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Small insects, and spiders

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

42 eggs

How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

0.5-0.6 in (1.3-1.5 cm)

How tall are they?

1.9 in (5 cm)

What do they look like?

Grayish-brown to black

Skin Type

Sclerites and chitin

What are their main threats?

Humans, pollution, land destruction, habitat loss, and vegetation management

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern, Endangered and Threatened

Where you'll find them

Grasslands, wooded forests, trees, beaches, salt flats, and riverbanks


South and North Africa, the United States, Gulf of Mexico, and Asia





Scientific Name

Cicindela ocellata rectilatera, Chaudoir





Tiger Beetle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Tiger Beetle?

The tiger beetles are part of the beetle group and have high aggressive predatory habits. They belong to the subfamily of Cicindelinae.

What class of animal does a Tiger Beetle belong to?

These species belong to the Insecta class of insects.

How many Tiger Beetles are there in the world?

There are more than 850 species of tiger beetles. A few types are six spotted tiger beetle, green tiger beetle, Australian tiger beetle, Miami tiger beetles, Ground beetle, and many more.

Where does a Tiger Beetle live?

There were several grayish-yellow silty mudstone fossils found, and the oldest one was found in Inner Mongolia, China. Currently, the tiger beetle population occupies the world except in remote oceanic islands, Tasmania, and Antarctica. The highest number of these species are found in the southwestern United States, northeastern India, and Amazonia.

What is a Tiger Beetle's habitat?

These species are active during the days, and they live near hot and dry regions. The tiger beetle habitat includes grasslands, wooded forests, trees, beaches, salt flats, and riverbanks. The light-colored species like the green tiger beetle live in sandy regions. They take shelter and hid to find food in burrows dug vertically down the sand. The larva also lives in a burrow about a meter deep.

Who do Tiger Beetles live with?

The tiger beetles live on their own except during mating.

How long does a Tiger Beetle live?

The adults live up to 10 months but they are active only for three to four months per year.

How do they reproduce?

The adults mate in the spring season after overwintering. The males perform guarding, which means that the males use their mandibles to latch onto the female's body. Females try to unseat males by running or rolling her body. So, only the strongest male can remain clasped to her body until mating. Even after mating, they remain clasped to restrict other males from mating with the female. The females lay eggs in May. She lays it under the soil so that larvae can create a burrow in it. Some females dig pits and lay the eggs in there so that larvae can use these pits as a burrow. This burrow helps the tiger beetle larvae hunt and catch food. There is no extra care given.

What is their conservation status?

Some species are extinct, and many are threatened. Few of them face no threat. A few reasons are pollution, destruction of vegetation, pesticide use, and development of land. They are sensitive to change. So, they are known as bio-indicators of the surrounding health. The Miami tiger beetle, Ohlone tiger beetle, and Salt creek tiger beetle are listed as Endangered. The Northeastern beach tiger beetle and Puritan tiger beetle are listed as Threatened. These five insects are listed as Threatened and Endangered in the United States.

Tiger Beetle Fun Facts

What do Tiger Beetles look like?

The tiger beetles have large eyes, curved mandibles, and elongated legs. Both the larva and adult are predators. They have six long legs that help them run fast, which makes them the fastest insect. The mandibles are the same as jaws to subdue their prey and also bite predators. They are iridescent beetles with colorations like green, black, red, brown, and many more. Few of them contain spots on their wings.

Not only do tiger beetles have the fastest running speed, but also the fastest flying speed.

How cute are they?

The mandibles are sharp and long and the legs are thin and long. So, many people do not think that these insects are cute.

How do they communicate?

Both the larva and an adult have large eyes, which help them catch their prey and hide from predators. They also use vibrations to determine motion. They use touch to communicate during mating.

How big is a Tiger Beetle?

These flying beetles are 0.5-0.6 in (1.3-1.5 cm) long and 1.9 in (5 cm) tall.

How fast can Tiger Beetles move?

The tiger beetles run at 9 kmph or 125 body lengths per second. A cheetah, for comparison, can run at 80-130 kmph, which is much faster than the tiger beetles, but it does fewer body lengths.

How much does a Tiger Beetle weigh?

Many species of tiger beetle are lightweight. The exact number is unknown.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for females and males.

What would you call a baby Tiger Beetle?

These baby tiger beetles are called larvae.

What do they eat?

The tiger beetle diet consists of small insects and spiders. The larva feeds on even smaller insects like ants.

Are they harmful?

No. If mishandled, they tend to bite. They wait and chase down their prey, and they not only run or avoid predators but also produce cyanide when they are threatened. They release this poison onto the mouth of the predator, which is effective only with small predators. Otherwise, most of them are harmless.  

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, if provided the right environment, food, proper temperature, and humidity.

Did you know...

Although most of the tiger beetles are diurnal, few of them are active during the night.

The largest length reached by the tiger beetles is 1.7 (4.5 cm) which belongs to the manticora genus found in South Africa.

The body temperature of the tiger beetles depends on the surroundings as they are cold-blooded.

The name 'tiger beetles' is given because they hunt like a tiger.

Tiger Beetle adaptations

Due to high speed, they lose their eyesight for few seconds. So, during a high pursuit, they stop and relocate themselves. The mandibles differ in size, so they can only one-sized prey. They also camouflage well to detect and avoid predators.

Why is the Tiger Beetle so fast?

While running at high speeds, their antenna, which they place directly in front of them, helps them mechanically detect the surroundings. They can also run fast due to their large, thin legs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including the milkweed beetle, or bombardier beetle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Tiger Beetle coloring pages.



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