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whatsthis7-550x228If What’s This? No. 5 was too easy and What’s This? No. 6 was tough, here’s one I’ll rate moderate in level of difficulty. (It’s got a decent beat and it’s okay to dance to.) I shot this one in High Island, Texas, on April 22, 2010. Name it and win $5 off any of my outings or workshops. Submit your answer in the comments section. I’ve only been posting correct answers (and Sara Backer creations), so don’t be bashful about guessing. These are fun. Maybe I’ll accept some from blog readers. Send me an email.  Here is a compilation of all seven What’s This? posts. By the way, we have a winner …

Added May 24: Astute naturalist Emily Marie Ahtunan was first to identify this as a portion of the elytron of a tiger beetle. Field Naturalist Matt Pierle also got it, with a comical reference to World Turtle Day yesterday. This one (the complete photo is below) is Common Shore Tiger Beetle (Cicindela repanda). True to its name, this beetle is common here in Vermont and elsewhere on the continent. It likes wet sandy spots, including shorelines. Some wonderful biodiversity arrived in your answers to this one, including: “fish rowe sushi,” “frog eggs,” and “bryozoan.” I love ’em!

tiger-beetle-sampler-350Anyway, these are “birders’ beetles.” They’re showy and lend themselves to fairly easy field identification (based often on the maculations on the elytra). The Earth has more than 2,600 tiger beetle species. They live on and in the ground and prey on smaller insects and other tiny organisms. They come in an array array of colors and patterns and range in size from 7 to 70mm in length. Many of us are now watching tiger beetles in the same way we watch birds — through binoculars. With a slow and stealthy approach, you can get close for identification and photos. You best bet for tiger beetles is sandy woodland paths and roads that get no vehicle traffic. Here’s the go-to A Field Guide to the Tiger Beetles of the United States and Canada (please be seated when viewing the price). The amazing Northeastern Tiger Beetles by Ross Bell (a hero and mentor of mine) and Jonathan Leonard is tough to find but a great resource to those of us in the Northeast. And here’s our tiger in full display.

Common Shore Tiger Beetle (Cicindela repanda) / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Common Shore Tiger Beetle (Cicindela repanda) / © Bryan Pfeiffer

  1. Matt Pierle says:

    Tiger beetle carapice…er elytra.

  2. Emily says:

    A Tiger Beetle?

  3. Sara Backer says:

    You went to Sioux City, Iowa to visit Palmer Candy Co. and watch the making of the famous candy Twin Bing. Here, the cherries are in their last phase of ever looking like cherries just before they go over the dam and get whipped into weird pink nougat.

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