Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Tiger Beetles: 2018 Season

"We know that this interest in tiger beetles is not mystical, but if you talk to tiger beetle aficionados about their hobby or study, many of them will not be able to explain the source of what the uninitiated may see as mania."

― A Field Guide to the Tiger Beetles of US & Canada

Six-spotted (May)

As October draws to a close, so too does 2018's Tiger Beetle Season. I found 11 species in just 2 counties, Sauk and Dane. A total of 16 tiger beetle species can be found in Wisconsin, but some require driving to the northern part of the state. My most productive locations were the Sauk City Canoe Launch along the Wisconsin River and Spring Green Preserve's desert prairie. As is almost always the case, Six-spotted was my first tiger beetle of the year, found in May along the creek corridor. And the finale was photographing Splendid Tiger Beetles at Spring Green's rocky outcroppings at the top of the bluff. The greatest seasonal discovery was finding Ghost Tiger Beetles at a vacant sandlot near the canoe launch, but I suspect it's slated for future housing development. Even if that happens, I'm hopeful they'll continue to be found in the Sauk area. My personal favorite 2018 tiger beetle portrait is the Hairy-necked you'll find below. Not that they're capable of showing expression, I think the beetle may have been a little annoyed with me pursuing it.

Anyway, here they are!

Bronzed (May)

Festive (June)

Big Sand (June)

Oblique-lined (July)

Punctured (July)

Ghost (July)

Sandy Stream (July)

Hairy-necked (July)

Virginia Metallic (August)

Splendid (September)

All images © 2018 Mike McDowell

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