Locomotory behaviour in a population of the tiger beetle species Cicindela hybrida on a small, hot, sandy area

Nachtigall, W.

Entomologia Generalis 20(4): 241-248


ISSN/ISBN: 0171-8177
Accession: 032183116

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The locomotory behaviour of tiger beetles on a very hot, sandy area is described. Running speed and propensity to run was higher at higher surface temperature T-S. Maximum running speed was at least 50 cm s-1 at maximum surface temperature of T-S = 53.5 degree C, measured between 1.00 and 3.00 h pm. Periods of rest on the hot sand did not last longer than 01-10 s. Sudden transitions to flights of up to 3 m s-1 were observed when the beetles were disturbed. In the evening, at T-S apprxeq 20 degree C, the beetles run slowly (v apprxeq 20 cm s-1) for short distances and usually refrained from flying, even when disturbed. Any prey found during the day at T-S apprxeq 30 degree C was attacked immediately and repeatedly grasped, released and regrasped, even smooth insects such as Coccinellidae. At T-S apprxeq 30 degree C, body position was oblique, and the head held 5-6 mm above ground. At higher temperatures body position was steeper. With the legs fully stretched (at T-S apprxeq 40 degree C on), the head was approximately 10 mm above ground, thus obviously escaping heat radiation from the surface. The beetles only remained in the shadows of grasses or branches during extremely high temperatures (T-S apprxeq 45 degree C). Surface and near surface temperatures as well as temperature profils near the ground of the biotope were recorded under various ambient conditions (sun, clouds, wind, time of day) and correlated to the beetles' locomotory behaviour.