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Friday, April 20, 2001
By ROWAN HOOPER
*Japanese name: Hanmyo *Scientific name: Cicindela chinensis japonica * Description: Tiger beetles have strong jaws and metallic blue, red and green bodies. The pattern on their bodies makes it difficult for them to be spotted by enemies -- and by us, too. You're most likely to see tiger beetles flying short distances, close to the ground. Watch for where they land, and sneak up on them. Adults are 20 mm long. *Where to find them: Tiger beetles are active on sunny days from April to August. They live in flat, sandy or rocky areas, on trails and in forest openings. * Food: The eating habits of tiger beetles are hinted at in their name. They are predatory insects that ambush and kill other insects with their strong jaws. Their larvae are also predatory, lurking in holes in the ground into which they drag unsuspecting insects. *Special features: Predators have to move fast to catch their prey. Tiger beetles run in zig-zags along the ground on their long legs and can quickly take flight, unlike most other beetles. Hidden folded under their shiny, protective elytra is a pair of wings that can instantly unwrap.
Females make a hole in the ground with their ovipositor and lay their eggs one by one. The larvae hatch and enlarge the hole. They fasten themselves into their burrow in an S-shape, using special hooks on their thorax to anchor them when they bite and drag in their prey.
Predatory: Animals that live by capturing and feeding on other animals follow a predatory lifestyle. Elytra: The forewings of all beetles are modified into armored shells called elytra. Thorax:
Insect bodies are made of three parts -- the head, thorax and abdomen. The legs and wings are attached to the thorax.