Carnage! That is what I saw today in the field. Tiger beetles are top predators in the insect community, making them very important. Tiger beetles have been called “indicator species“, meaning they can indicate the health of an ecosystem. In other words, if the tiger beetles aren’t doing so well, the ecosystem is probably not doing so well either. In particular, tiger beetles have been called indicators of biodiversity– if the tiger beetles are present, so are many other species.
One of the reasons tiger beetles are good indicators is because they tend to be specialized to particular types of habitats: good hunting grounds. Tiger beetles are present and thriving where they can stalk, chase, and eat many types of prey. Prey for tiger beetles are any other creature (usually smaller insects) they can catch. They even hunt and eat prey while they are mating, as you can see from the top picture (more on that to come)….Meanwhile, here is a video of the above picture, mostly showing the solitary beetle going to town after the mating pair flew away: