Six-spotted Tiger Beetle

Cicindela sexguttata

Copyright, Hays Cummins,

Six-spotted Tiger Beetles are fairly small, growing about 1/2 inch long. They are easy to identify, with a bright metallic green body. The outer wings, called elytra, each have three to five white spots. Since the beetle has two elytra, it could actually have a total of six to ten spots. Legs and antennae are also bright green.

Six-spotted Tiger Beetles can be found in open woods, and along paths and streams.

These beetles usually live alone and only get together to breed. They can be seen from April to August.

Copyright, Dr. Jay Comeaux

B. Newton, 2002

After mating, the male beetle rides on the back of the female for a while, so it can keep other males from mating with her.

Female beetles lays eggs in June or July. Each female digs holes in the ground and lays one egg in each hole. She uses her ovipositor to lay the egg, then covers up the hole with dirt.

When they hatch, beetle larvae (called "grubs") burrow tunnels down into the soil. To eat, a larvae pops its head out of its tunnel to grab prey. It then pulls the prey down into its burrow.

Tiger beetle larvae eat ants, spiders, and other small prey it can grab.

Copyright, Hays Cummins,

Each larva stays in its burrow until the following year. In July it changes into a pupa (resting stage). Pupae hatch into adults in August.

Adult Six-spotted Tiger Beetles spend the day looking for food, then return to their burrow (the same one they were a larva and pupa in) at night. Adults also spend the winter in their burrows.

Copyright, Bob Peterson

Copyright, Hays Cummins,

Copyright, Dr. Jay Comeaux

Adult beetles are fast runners and fliers. When they fly, they usually stay within three feet of the ground. Tiger beetles catch prey on the ground and in the air.

Six-spotted Tiger Beetles eat small insects, spiders, and other arthropods. Favorite foods include other beetles, springtails, sawflies, caterpillars, flies, ants, and grasshoppers.

Predators of adult tiger beetles include birds, dragonflies, robber flies, lizards, frogs, salamanders, and other small animals. Predators of tiger beetle larvae include moles, opossum, raccoons, skunks, hister beetles, ants, and birds.

This beetle's shiny body helps hide it, since predators have a hard time seeing it when the beetle is on the ground. It also defends itself by releasing a bad odor.

Certain types of wasps,mites, and bee flies become parasites of tiger beetle larvae.

Relationships in Nature:


Black Carpenter Ant

Black Carpenter Ant

Poison Ivy

Daring Jumping Spider

Eastern Mole

Virginia Creeper

Eastern Subterranean Termite

Virginia Opossum

Wild Strawberry

Horned Fungus Beetle



Giant Willow Aphid

Striped Skunk

Pink Lady's Slipper

Virginia Pine Sawfly


Pennsylvania Smartweed

Asian Tiger Mosquito

Northern Bobwhite


Fungus Gnat

Wild Turkey

Japanese Honeysuckle

Field Cricket

White-breasted Nuthatch

Highbush Blueberry

Blue Bottle Fly

Great Crested Flycatcher

Green Hawthorn

Differential Grasshopper

American Robin


Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth

Brown-headed Cowbird

English Plantain

Rabid Wolf Spider

Eastern Bluebird

Common Mullein

Ring-legged Earwig

Downy Woodpecker

Common Elderberry

Spined Micrathena

Common Yellowthroat

Bull Thistle

True Katydid

Northern Mockingbird

Bracken Fern

Snow Flea

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Kentucky Bluegrass

Green Lacewing

Ebony Jewelwing

Cinnamon Fern

European Gypsy Moth

Green Darner

Smooth Sumac

Common Black Ground Beetle

Five-lined Skink

Skunk Cabbage

Relationship to Humans:

This beetle is a beautiful creature to look at and fun to watch. They will bite, though, if handled. Six-spotted Tiger Beetles also help control pests.



Cicendela sexguttata


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