There are 108 species of tiger beetles in the U.S. and Canada. They span from Alaska to the Texas Gulf Coast and from Maine to Southern California, a testament to their durability as a species.
These beetles range in size from one-forth inch to one inch in length, but most are about one-half inch long. Tiger beetles are somewhat elongated and cylindrical in shape. They have long legs and long antennae, but are most known for their large, well-developed mandibles. Some species are capable of inflicting a painful bite.
Tiger beetles are very active and are able to run and fly quickly. Though they vary greatly in color, many are shocking iridescent metallic blues, greens, and purples. Other species are black, brown, or patterned with black and white stripes and spots.
Female beetles lay their eggs individually in small burrows, which may reach up to one foot in depth. After the eggs hatch, the larvae enlarge their burrows to suit them as they grow.
Both the adults and larvae are predaceous towards other insects, but they do not harm people or plants. In that way, they are considered beneficial because they destroy many pest insects.
Tiger beetles prefer open, sunny, sandy areas, often found found along sandy shorelines, paths, trails and dirt roads. They are especially common along dry creek beds. Some tiger beetles are attracted to lights and may be found at night, by the hundreds, around lanterns, floodlights, and other light sources.