I am quite pleased by this photo for a few reasons....firstly, it is quite a challenge to get close to these bugs, and to find and photograph mating behaviour is not something I have ever been able to do before. You can see his mandibles gripping his slightly larger and more colourful mate around the thorax. But it was only later when I cropped the photo that I noticed the ant head attached to his rear right leg, a battle trophy that he will carry with him, and testament perhaps to a lucky escape.
Sometimes called the Spy bug or more commonly THE TIGER BEETLE - or the proper latin name: Cicindela aurulenta. Often seen skipping ahead of you on jungle and country paths.
These beetles are ferociously carnivorous, just look at the mouth parts of the beasty above. Although they can fly, often in skipping short bursts, the fastest species of tiger beetle can run at a speed of 9 km/h (5.6 mph), or about 53.87 body lengths per second, which is incredibly fast when you think about it!
These beetles are carnivorous. The fastest species of tiger beetle can run at a speed of 9 km/h (5.6 mph), or about 53.87 body lengths per second, which is incredibly fast when you think about it!
This one on the right was not so lucky, as a spider keeps well out of way of its jaws as it wraps it in its web.
Tiger beetles are considered a good indicator species and have been used in ecological studies on biodiversity.