Cicindela formosa rutilovirescens

Big Sands Tiger Beetle

Cicindela formosa rutilovirescens, Big Sands Tiger Beetle photo from Mescalero Sands, New Mexico

Family: Carabidae

Subfamily: Cicindelinae

Length: 14 - 21 mm


Cicindela formosa flourishes in a variety of habitats, from New England beaches to Alberta prairies. Generally, though, sand is present and there is relatively little vegetation.

Pearson et al. (2006) note that because of the species' large size, it takes longer to warm up and becomes active later in the morning compared with other tiger beetle species. On the other hand, it is able to capture large prey, even other tiger beetles.

The subspecies shown here, Cicindela formosa rutilovirescens, was photographed at Mescalero Sands, New Mexico. It is found only in that area. Of the five subspecies of C. formosa, only this one invariably has the markings reduced to an extremely thin line at the elytral apex. In this subspecies the beetle's underside is metallic violet to blue.

The map below shows states and territories with records of this species in blue-green.

Range map for species Cicindela formosa