Readers’ wildlife photos

July 16, 2019 • 7:30 am

It’s been a while since we had some photos from Mike McDowell, but here are some of his speciality subjects: tiger beetles. His IDs and captions are indented.

We’ve had some serious flooding along the Wisconsin River this summer, so some sandbar tiger beetle species (C. macra and C. hirticollis) have been hard to find. Thus, I don’t have as many species to share with you and your readers this time around. However, a young entomologist friend of mine found dozens of Ghost Tiger Beetles (E. lepida) at Sauk Prairie Recreational Area a few weeks ago and I went there to score some portraits. Also included in this beetle-batch are a few species from Spring Green Preserve, which is also where I photographed Sand Milkwort and the Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus. As per usual, my first tiger beetle of the year was the Six-spotted (C. sexguttata), a species commonly seen on forest paths and sidewalks beginning in late April and early May.

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sexguttata):


Big Sand Tiger Beetle (Cicindela formosa generosa):

Bronzed Tiger Beetle (Cicindela repanda):

Festive Tiger Beetle (Cicindela scutellaris):

Ghost Tiger Beetle (Ellipsoptera lepida):

Purple Milkwort (Polygala polygama):

Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa):

13 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. The pic labelled six-spotted tiger beetle is actually the prickly pear.

    It is amusing to me that these insects are named as they are. I mean, if you look closely enough and *completely ignore the marvellous metallic green sheen* covering their body, I suppose you can find the six spots. One of my favourite insects 😀

    1. I’m rather taken with the name of the festive beetle! (And I have to say the photograph does nothing to dissuade from the idea that this is a beetle that likes partying!)

  2. Terrific! I have scored pix of all save the ghost tiger beetle. I understand that those are especially difficult, in large part b/c they have a very restricted distribution. Well done!

  3. Always enjoy the wildlife photo contributions especially when they have plenty of descriptive notes. Beetles are my favourite bugs and I enjoy closeup flower photos as well. Many thanks to the talented people who contribute these.

  4. Remarkable how cryptic the ghost tiger beetle is in its environment. The head close-up is a stunner. I love the metallic green on the 6-spotted tiger beetle, however I wonder how it got its name. Thanks for the photos..

    1. The elytra maculations (shell patterns) are variable within a species. Most Six-spotted Tiger Beetles have 3 spots on each elytron. Some individuals of this species can have a total of 8 spots, while some have none at all. The size of the dots can vary as well.

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