Home Importance Ants of Nebraska Butterflies of Nebraska Carrion Beetles of Nebraska Tiger Beetles of Nebraska
Carrion Beetle Genera County Records
Genera Amblycheila Genera Cicindela Genera Tetracha
Virginia Big-Headed Tiger Beetle




Tetracha virginica (Linnaeus)
Adult Length: 16 to 24 mm
Appearance: Adults are shiny dark green in color dorsally, with numerous tiny pits on the elytra, especially on the anterior half. Some individuals may exhibit some purplish reflections. The appendages are pale brownish to somewhat orange.
Similar Species: Though it could be confused with T. carolina, it lacks any maculation whatsoever, and it is unlikely that T. carolina would be encountered in Nebraska.
Biology: This species occur in a variety of habitats in the southern states, but in Nebraska it appears to be most common in high quality tall-grass and mixed-grass prairies. Both adults and larvae are most commonly encountered among bare patches in prairies that are dominated by big bluestem grass (Andropogon gerardii). Adults are capable of flight but rarely fly. Flight may be more common at night.
Adult Life History: Adults emerge from the pupa mostly from June to early August and peak numbers occur in July and August. A few adults may survive into October. Adults are both nocturnal and crepuscular and may often be encountered among bare patches in prairies and on grassland trails during the morning and early evening hours. They may be attracted to lights at night.
Larval Life History: Larvae occur among bare patches in grasslands as well as along the edges of cultivated fields in Nebraska. Larval burrows are normally about 20 cm in depth, but may reach 40 cm in dry areas. They are very aggressive and can be easily fished out with a grass blade. Despite the large size of the larvae, (normally well over 25 cm in length at third instar) the bite can only rarely penetrate the skin.
Biogeography: This species has been recorded from scattered localities across the southern half of Nebraska. Because of its largely nocturnal habits, it is likely overlooked. In North America it occurs from southern New Jersey and Florida west to southern Nebraska and western Texas. Its recent discovery in central Wisconsin (Jackson County) suggests that it might occur further north than previously thought.