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NC State Extension

Tiger Beetle

  • Common Name: Tiger Beetle
  • General Category: Beneficial Predator
  • Taxonomic Classification: Coleoptera: Carabidae
  • Scientific Name: Many species


All tiger beetles are predatory as both adults and larvae. The adults are fast runners, and with their powerful jaws, they live up to their common name of “tiger.” Some are active in the day, while others are active at night. For example, the Carolina Tiger beetle is nocturnal and gregarious, that is it sometimes hunts in “packs”. The larvae reside in deep, straight tunnels, where they ambush passing prey.

Tiger beetle adult tiger beetle larva


Review the images for tips on how to identify these predators.


Often brightly metallic body in a variety of colors; very long, thin legs; long, thin antennae; large mouthparts; large protruding eyes; very fast runners.


Somewhat grub-like but with obvious legs; very large, flat head that caps the top of tunnels; large, widely spaced mandibles for grasping prey; bristly knobs on back that help to hold larva in tunnel when attacking prey.

Value in Pest Management

These beetles appear to be generalist predators, feeding on any arthropods on the soil they can overwhelm. It is unclear how or if they contribute to pest management. However, where they occur in large numbers, they undoubtedly have an impact on local arthropod populations. They are not sold commercially.

Origin and Distribution

Native, throughout North America.

Discover Life – carabidae

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