Cicindela campestris Linnaeus, 1758
Green Tiger Beetle
A widespread species occurring throughout the Palaearctic, except for the far north, and eastwards through Russia to the Far East. It is generally common although in some central European countries populations are recovering following a recent decline due to habitat abuse. There are at least 11 subspecies, including e.g. C .c.suffriani Loew, 1843 endemic to Crete, C. c. saphyrina Gene which is brilliant blue from Sardinia and C.c.nigrita a dark form from Corsica and Sardinia. In the U.K. this is our only widespread Tiger Beetle occurring throughout to the north of Scotland, including the Islands, but not Orkney or Shetland. From our own observations it is nowhere near as common as it was in the 1980’s. We have not recorded it from the Watford area but it might be reasonable to expect it as there are populations in southeast Herts. and southeast Bucks. Adults are active from early spring until June or July. They occur in a range of habitats, preferring open sites on well drained soil; grassland, hillsides, heath and moorland, woodland rides and coastal dunes etc. They generally occur in numbers where found and are active in bright sun when the brilliant metallic and vivid green colours are unmistakeable as they run and fly in search of prey. Prey items include terrestrial organisms e.g. Wood Ants, spiders and larvae, as well as flying insects. The larvae live in burrows up to 30cm deep which they excavate themselves. They lack terminal cerci but the dorsal surface is raised, with hooks on the fifth tergite which support them in the burrow. The head is flattened and expanded into a dorsal plate which is fringed with sensory setae, this seals the burrow and passing insects etc. are sensed and rapidly seized. The circular burrow entrances may be noticed by the debris scattered by the larvae. Development takes two years and pupation occurs at the base of the burrow.
12-17mm. Upper surface metallic; dull to bright green. Fowler records a black form, funebris Sturm, from the Clyde district of Scotland. Elytra with five pale marks although the apical two are sometimes fused. Head proportionally large; with large convex eyes occupying the sides. Antennae dark with metallic basal segments; inserted in front of the eyes and inside the base of the mandibles. Mandibles strongly toothed along the inner margin. Labrum pale, at least in
C. campestris larvae are specialist ant-feeders
part, and smooth. Clypeus narrow and very wide; wider than the distance between the antennal insertions. Pronotum transverse and as wide as the head; basal and apical margins brilliant metallic. Elytra without striae; finely punctured and granulate. Underside brilliant metallic; the thorax brilliant coppery and the abdomen usually green. Legs long and slender; metallic and pubescent. Male with a median incision to the sixth sternite and with the basal pro-tarsal segments dilated. The female usually has a dark mark in the basal third of the elytra.
Lateral pronotal margin with fewer, smaller hairs.
Narrower, more elongate.
Darker, less metallic.
Elytral markings distinct.
Confined to a few south coast localities.