Subject: Unknown Bug Found While Hiking
Geographic location of the bug: Gatlinburg, TN
Time: 08:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hi,
I was walking along the Fighting Creek Nature Trail near the Sugarlands Visitor Center outside of Gatlinburg, TN when I saw this bug. I’ve tried googling it but can’t seem to find a match. Any idea what it is?
How you want your letter signed: Matt
This is a predatory Tiger Beetle, and many species have metallic green coloration, so we decided to search BugGuide for a Black Tiger Beetle and quickly identified it as Cicindelidia punctulata thanks to this BugGuide image. According to BugGuide: “Overwinters as larva, adults present in summer. One- or two-year life cycle” which makes your January sighting quite unusual. BugGuide data lists April sightings in Florida as the earliest sightings of the year, and most other states only report sightings from May to October. Perhaps you took this image last summer?
Wow! Awesome – thank you so much!
And yes, you’re absolutely right it was taken last summer (late June)
March 14, 2019a: Correction and Comment from Timothy P Friedlander.
This is actually a very interesting tiger beetle, Apterodela unipunctata, and a good find. They are most active in late May, through June, into July, and prefer sandy woods. They seem to be mostly nocturnal, and less active in the day, and frequently “play dead” when disturbed. They resemble fast, black spiders as they run through the forest litter, and will hide under leaves.