Mating Festive Tiger Beetles (Cicindela scutellaris)

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    Spring is in full swing and lately I’ve been enjoying the sun around the Canadian River here in Oklahoma stalking the tiger beetles that buzz about in the sand. I first noticed these beautiful beetles last October in the same spot where I found that Phidippus mystaceus male, but didn’t have the time to get any photographs of them.

    Without a doubt, these beetles have been some of the most difficult subjects I’ve ever photographed as they rarely let you get anywhere near them. If you move an inch towards them, they’ll fly an inch away.

    For the shot above, I laid flat on my belly about 10 feet from the beetles, and very slowly over the period of a minute or two inched my way like a snake towards them. Once I had the pair in focus (the focusing distance with my 200mm lens on a set of extension tubes was about 2-3 feet) I just fired away. To get the low angle, I had to dig my chin down into the sand by wiggling my jaw about. Not long after I started photographing them, I heard the rumble of an ATV and the screeches of the teenage couple driving it approaching behind me. Begrudgingly I got up, wiping the sand out of my beard, and let them pass. As they roared by, the beetles disjoined and flew away.

    This shot isn't up to my usual standards of quality, but given the difficulty involved with shooting tiger beetles, I'm pleased with it for now. It's a significant crop from a pretty low quality lens (an old Japanese "ASANUMA" 200mm f/3.5 prime on a set of extension tubes) and was taken in direct sunlight without flash.

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    If you are interested in the amazing variety of tiger beetles present in the U.S. - take a look through the photos on bugguide here:

    Tonari no Totoro, and 251 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. Shane Jones 35 months ago | reply

      Stunning colours. Great.

    2. Gogorita 33 months ago | reply

      You deserve all the above comment's ! Your photo's are inspiring thank you.

    3. karinhardorff 27 months ago | reply

      Stunning colors. Great capture

    4. mario.soure 27 months ago | reply

      This shot is amazing!
      Please post your image to:

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      Macro Marvels (Invite Only) Post 1 Comment 2
      Please tag with MacroMarvels

    5. wendysalisbury 23 months ago | reply

      wow - amazing colours.

    6. Ivannia E 23 months ago | reply

      those colors are wonderful!!!

    7. kenmartin243 14 months ago | reply

      Awesome shot.

    8. Edberz 14 months ago | reply

      Amazing pics

    9. Edberz 14 months ago | reply

      Amazing pics! Congrats...

    10. 13 months ago | reply

      Hi there! Just wanted to let you know I used this great photo on the Peterson Field Guides Facebook page today (with attribution). Thanks for making it available through Creative Commons!

    11. sylvain Richer de Forges 13 months ago | reply

      Biodiversity Portal of Singapore

      We would be interested to have your picture posted on the following site:

      The recently launched Biodiversity Portal of Singapore (BPS) is a unique platform to learn, discover and act on biodiversity and conservation both in Singapore and internationally. Amongst other features, this platform also contains a unique photography element which aims to showcase most outstanding wildlife pictures from around the world and to inspire conservation through the art of photography.

      You may submit your pictures at the following link:

      Rules and Regulations:

      Please help to raise awareness of the programme; like BPS on facebook:

    12. vipin baliga 11 months ago | reply

      This is so beautiful! Hats off to you.

    13. JJMWheatley 10 months ago | reply

      Stunning colour and amazing detail.

    14. hippynz 10 months ago | reply

      insect porn. nice pic

    15. Ranxero 10 months ago | reply

      Fic on the flirck!

    16. dnoseworth 8 months ago | reply

      Your work is out of this world .love it

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