I wasn’t properly excited when I photographed this tiger beetle. I now know this species, Cicindela highlandensis, is a somewhat rare endemic species. There were no shortage of them at this particular spot though.
Honestly, I ignored them at first, not being sure I wanted to invest the effort required to get some good shots. Eventually, I had already prostrated myself for some shots of other subjects, so I figured what the heck. I’ll admit I was also somewhat motivated by a desire to share some tiger beetle shots here for frequent commenter Ted C. MacRae to see.
I like those single small hairs that stick up from above each eye.
These really are relatively small tiger beetles. I’m guessing that doesn’t stop them from tangling with big prey though. Looks like this one perhaps bit off more than it could chew, since it seems to be missing some antennal segments.
Their dark color allows them to blend in quite well with all the other debris scattered about their sandy habitat. You don’t really notice them until they take flight.
I’m going to follow Ted’s lead and not reveal here the exact location where these were found. Looking at the timestamps of my images, I spent less than five minutes chasing this one beetle. If I go back, you can be sure I’ll spend more time photographing this species.
I encountered a handful of these tiger beetles. At least, I think that’s what these are. I hope I don’t embarrass myself.
Most of them were up in trees and bushes as suggested by the first photo. I only encountered one on the ground.
From a distance, I mistook the first one for a large ant. Indeed, they move more like an ant than what I expect from a tiger beetle. I believe they may in fact be mimicking ants, and I found some references to back that up. None gave even a general identification though, so I wasn’t able to search for any online photos.
I led with that first photo above because it was the best specimen. Most of the ones I encountered were missing legs or antennae.
None of my photos turned out all that well. There was just too much contrast between the highlights and the dark body.
In this final photo, I was trying to show from a distance how they might be mistaken for an ant.
Look at the full-size image and you’ll see this one has a little hitchhiking mite.