What is this Fluorescent Green Beetle?

The Question: I found a beetle near Danville, Ohio that I have not been able to identify. It’s florescent green, with two spots on each wing, large black eyes, and a white “mouth” protrusion with black finger-like appendages around the “mouth.” What is it?

Submitted by: Susie, Ohio, USA

The Short Answer: This is a six spotted tiger beetle (Cicindela sexguttata), one of about 2,000 tiger beetle species. The six spotted tiger beetle is one of the most common tiger beetles in the United States, which does nothing to diminish its beauty. Like many tiger beetles, Cicindela sexguttata has an almost metallic iridescence — its color would be great on a sports car. Aside from their beauty, tiger beetles are known for their voracious predatory behavior and speed. Compared to their body size, tiger beetles run more than ten times as fast as people. In fact, Dr. Cole Gilbert, at Cornell University, has shown that when tiger beetles give chase, they often outrun their vision and have to stop to find their prey again. They run towards the prey, stop and reorient, run again for bit, stop and reorient again, and eventually capture their prey.

Because of their fancy colors and their charismatic behavior, tiger beetles are popular with insect collectors. While Cicindela sexguttata is common, some tiger beetles are endangered, in some cases because of collectors. If you find something you think is a tiger beetle, the U.S. Geological Survey has a great site that lists the beetles that have been recorded in each state, with pictures: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/insects/tigb/index.htm

This video clip shows a beautiful Japanese tiger beetle and then shows a tiger beetle larvae hunting. As you’ll see, they are just as ferocious as larvae. (Sorry for the crazy music.)


By the way, I want to commend Susie on her photos. They have nice detail and are well focused. They’re better than most of the photos of the six spotted tiger beetle on Wikimedia.com, so if she cared to upload them, she’d be doing a service to others looking for photos of Cicindela sexguttata. I also need to give Susie credit for the fact that a day or so after she sent me the question, she did some searching online, and was able to identify the six spotted tiger beetle herself. I thought it was worth making this post anyway because others might also see this same or one of the many other tiger beetles.

Cite this article as: Pelletier, TC. (November 16, 2010). What is this Fluorescent Green Beetle? Retrieved from http://askanaturalist.com/what-is-this-fluorescent-green-beetle/ on July 3, 2020.

15 thoughts on “What is this Fluorescent Green Beetle?”

  1. I just had one of the prettiest green bugs on the porch here in Bangor, Maine where I work. By the time I retrieved phone to snap a pic it crawled away.
    Gorgeous cannot even begin to describe the brillance in color!

  2. Did it look something like the pictures here? Do you think it was a tiger beetle? I’m always amazed at how gorgeous they are. And you’d swear their metallic paint job came right from a hot rod garage. Amazing.

  3. They may be beautiful, but the are eating the leaves on my green beans and my petunias. Our yard is full of they. How do you get rid of them?

  4. Gloria, can you take a picture and send it to me? (tom@askanaturalist.com) Tiger beetles don’t eat plants, they eat bugs. So I think you might have something else eating your beans and petunias. Or the tiger beetles are eating whatever else is eating your plants.

  5. Hey We live in Hampton New Brunswick Canada and we just caught one of these green beetle bugs. We let it go though.

  6. I live in Winnipeg Manitoba and recently we have so many florescent green beetles (like never before) and somehow so many come through the screen.

  7. We live in Arizona and just got in the house at dark after spraying our peach trees with hundreds of these devouring our peaches

  8. Hi Gene, if you have hundreds of tiger beetles, they must be eating other bugs. Tiger beetles are predators so it’s not likely they are eating your peaches. Can you send me a picture of the insects you’re seeing? Might be something else. Email to tom@askanaturalist.com. Thanks!

  9. I have found several in our yard this summer here in Southern California. I have a Question. Do they fly at night. they are florescent green and large. I have found them mostly in our grass, once in a while some will crawl up on the patio. Are they harmful to animals.

  10. Hi Anjeannette, when you say “large” what do you mean? I don’t think of tiger beetles as large. Maybe you have something else? Can you email me a photo tom@askanaturalist.com. Thanks, Tom

  11. I tried to get a photo of one today at work in Rothesay NB Canada. It was so fast i couldnt get a shot. It looked like it was spray painted it was so flourecent green. Amazing. Looked just like these pics.

  12. The 6 spotted Tiger beetle is Highly intriguing and beautiful to watch. I never knew they were native to the U.S. My outdoor lesson for today, 5/22/20. Memphis TN

  13. Just spotted a Tiger Beetle in Casco, Michigan. Surprised me when is buzzed off so quickly! Very cool color.

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