Let’s I.D.this one that whines when picked up
I’ve got another one for you, I have looked all around your beetle pages and can’t seem to id this one. When It was picked up it may a noise like a crying baby and once again we need you assistance to identify it. I thought it may be some type of stag beetle because of the jaws, but it just isn’t the right color. Thanks again, Tiffany

Hi Tiffany,
We thought this looked like one of the ground beetles, but we checked with Eric Eaton for a second opinion. Here is his response: “Well, yes, this is a carabid….sort of:-) Depends on whether you still consider tiger beetles a separate family! This looks to be a specimen of Megacephala virginica. If it has ivory marks on the tips of the wing covers then it is M. carolina. Yes, they are cool!” Tiger Beetles belong to the Family Cicindelidae and they are voracious hunters that prey on many injurious insects.

Update (08/22/2006)
Hello Lisa Anne and Daniel, I recently came across your website and I was pleased to see such a vibrant (and well-done) site. I’m an entomologist and evolutionary biologist (specializing on the systematics, taxonomy and evolution of tiger beetles and their close relatives) and I have to say that I’m impressed with your accuracy rate! It’s much, much better than other comparable sites I’ve come across over the years. The two of you must really love insects. In any case, I noticed that you are open to information from specialists, so I thought I’d give you a few ID’s of species that I came across on your pages. I was having trouble sleeping, so I went through all of the tiger beetles, scaratines, etc and checked them out. Here you go: I’ll bookmark your site and check it out when I’m having trouble sleeping again!
This is indeed a Megacephala (Tetracha) species, but actually M. carolina. You can most easily tell the two US species of Megacephala apart by coloration. M. carolina has a rainbow-colored back… red, green, and unpigmented cream-colored areas at the tip of the back (elytra). M. virginica is much bigger (17-22 mm) and is entirely dark metallic black-green on the back except for the cream-colored markings. It also has a noticeably rougher texture. Hope that helps! The whine is called “stridulation” and often occurs when some species of insects are picked up (a number of insects do this). And yes, the majority of professional insect systematists recognize tiger beetles as a subfamily/supertribe within the Carabidae. Nice photo!
Daniel P. Duran
Dept. of Biological Sciences
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN

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