A very flashy beetle was found during the Montana Natural History Center’s Master Naturalist weekend. The naturalists likely got a good look at those bulging eyes and wicked jaws, but we’re not sure if they witnessed its speed. These insects are FAST. Tiger beetles have been clocked running at 1.38 feet per second (about 29 body lengths). That may not sound like a lot, but factoring in their size, it’s similar to a grizzly bear running over 135 miles per hour. They actually run so fast, that they outrun the capacity of their eyes and brain to process what they are seeing fast enough …so they literally run themselves blind and need to stop, look around and then continue their pursuit of their prey. This species is found across North America (except for the Gulf and Pacific coastlines; areas of Cascades and BC Coast Range) typically in open habitats. Riverbanks are favored haunts.
Photo by: Kelly Dix on 4/17/21 in Missoula, MT