I first noticed these Oregon Tiger Beetles (Cicindela oregona oregona) in 2006, always flitting away just as I focussed my eyes. After some tracking, I got one barely acceptable photo. In April and May, 2007, I returned to the site, near the mouth of the Elwha River, in northwest Washington State, and spent some time photographing them. They are especially abundant on sunny afternoons in May, dashing about, mating and laying eggs on sandy patches near the river.
I have since observed and photographed this species in several other sandy locales.
Oregon Tiger Beetles are abundant and widespread throughout the Pacific Northwest. The species extends from the central plains of United States and Canada to the west coast.
Tiger Beetles can jump, run and fly, so they’re difficult to approach. Their sharp vision, speed and formidable jaws likely make them serious predators on any insects small enough for them to catch. Image 4 shows a beetle eating.
Field marks for this species include a prominent “knee” on the middle stripe and bristles on the inner edge of each eye. In the specimens I’ve photographed and observed, the middle stripe varies, sometimes being broken or dark. In some individuals, the middle stripes on the two elytra differ. In different light, and because of individual variation, they can appear coppery, gold, brown, green or green with blue highlights. They’re about 1.5 cm long.