Sunday, 9 April 2017

April 9th Mousehold Heath

Green Tiger Beetle
Today, I was at Mousehold Heath on a tiger hunt. Of course, I don't mean the stripy big cat, I would not step foot on the site otherwise. What I am really looking for is something smaller, but equally fearsome in its own miniature world. Green tiger beetles are one of my favourite beetles and Mousehold is a great place to find them. However, it takes a lot of stealth and patience to spot and get close to them as they blend in well with the short vegetation surrounding them and are extremely fast and flighty, buzzing off whenever they see you coming. To add to the challenge, I decided to bring my new sweep net and try and catch one. Sadly, I failed. They were just too quick for me. I had more luck getting photos of them from a distance with my camera after lots of trial and error.

Green tiger beetles are fairly common insects of heathland and the best places to search for them are at dry open areas and even stony covered pathways. When you do see one, you can truly admire its shiny, metallic green body glistening in the sun like tiny jewels. Another thing to admire are those ferocious set of jaws, which it uses to tear through its prey with ease. They are a predator of speed, using their ultra-quick reflexes to not only to escape danger, but also to charge at their unexpecting victims like a cheetah. Even as larva they are deadly predators, though their tactics are completely different. While searching for the adults, you may have noticed tiny holes on the ground. These holes may store a tiny beetle larva inside and you may be able to see one with its mighty jaws and armour-plated head staring right at you from the entrance as it sits and wait for something like an ant to crawl over it and to meet its end in those jaws.

No comments:

Post a Comment