Tiger, Tiger?

When it has been warm and sunny I have been dropping in on my local heath a couple of miles away.  My main purpose has only been partly successful but with no photos as yet I’m keeping quiet.  The heath is gorgeous at this time of the year.  The soil is very sandy, gorse and heather grow in profusion.  I just love the gorse, the flowers vivid yellow and the heady aroma of it’s coconut like scent.

The insect life is quite prolific and whilst walking the paths in full sun I had been noticing several pale green bugs.  I tried to get close for an image but every time they flew away.  At last one stayed put and I managed to get the macro on it, it turned out it was laying eggs in little burrows it excavated.  I had an idea what these were but made a check on google to confirm, they are Green Tiger Beetles (Cicindela campestris).

Up close what an amazing looking creature, unless you are another small insect!

Now I don’t know about you but I can’t recall ever seeing a green tiger.  So why the name?  Well it seems as this little critter, only 1/2 an inch (12mm) long, is one of the fiercest and fastest hunters in the bug world.  If you are a spider, ant or caterpillar you better be prepared to run and run fast!  How fast?  Well according to the aforementioned google one of it’s family can run at a speed of 9 km/h (5.6 mph2.5 m/s), or about 125 body lengths per second!  Scale that up and it’s quicker than a Top Fuel dragster!

Another insect I’d noticed actually did look more like a tiger.

‘Wonder what’s in this burrow?’

Same size as the beetle this is Goodens Nomad Bee (Nomada goodeniana).  The identity of this confirmed by a facebook group.  It is known as a cuckoo bee or cleptoparasite.  What it does to earn this illustrious title is to lay it’s eggs in the nests of other species of bee of the andrena family that nest in burrows.  The grub then tucks in on the stored food meant for the host grub, similar to the avian cuckoo.

Amazing the world that goes on right under our noses!


21 thoughts on “Tiger, Tiger?

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