When handled, adults emit a fruity odor that resembles the smell of apples.
Punctured tiger beetles are relatively slender and black or dark brown, although a metallic green form also exists. They have thin white markings (dots) on their wing covers (the exact number of markings varies). The underside of their abdomen is blue-green, and they have purple or copper-colored patches on the sides of their thorax. Each wing cover has a series of tiny blue-green pits along its length. Their head is smooth and hairless. Total length: 0.4 to 0.5 inches (11-13 mm).
Similar species: This species might be confused only with Cicindela rufiventris and Cicindela abdominalis. However, the underside of these two species is reddish and orange, respectively, compared to the blue-green underside of punctured tiger beetles.
Punctured tiger beetles are wide ranging across North America from the Atlantic coast to the Rocky Mountains to the southwestern U.S. and northwestern central highlands of Mexico into the central highlands of Mexico (Pearson et al., 2006).
In the east, they are found mainly in upland habitats with dry, hard-packed soils and sparse grasses, including dusty roads, old trails, pastures, crop fields, roadside ditches, strip mines, and foot paths, as well as eroded gullies, rock hillsides, sand pits, and dunes. In addition, they are found in city lawns, gardens, sidewalks, parking lots, and clay tennis courts. In the west, they are found mostly in the vicinity of water, such as the edge of rivers, lakes, marshes, irrigation ditches, temporary ponds, and alkali mud flats from lowland prairies to mountain tops. They are frequently found along roadsides. Larvae burrow anywhere from 6 to 16 inches (14 to 40 cm) into hard-packed sand, clay, or loam with sparse grass.
They are active at night and during the day and are attracted to lights. Most have a one-year life cycle. Adults are found from late June and early July into October and are most common in July. The female lays eggs in late July in hard, dry humus. Larvae feed throughout the summer and reach the third instar (life stage) by September. After overwintering, the third instar larvae feed in spring and pupate in late May or June.
Do you see...?
Active adults One or more adults are seen moving about or at rest.
Adults feeding One or more adults are seen feeding. If possible, record the name of the species or substance being eaten or describe it in the comments field.
Mating A male and female are seen coupled in a mating position, usually with the male on top of the female.
Dead adults One or more dead adults are seen, including those found on roads.
Individuals at a light One or more individuals are seen at a light, whether flying or at rest.
Individuals in a net One or more individuals are seen caught in a net.