Ellipsoptera marginata

One rather unique tiger beetles that occurs in Virginia is Ellipsoptera marginata – I photographed this species back in late June of 2009 at Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve where I was assisting in a survey for Habroscelimorpha dorsalis dorsalis.

Bethel Beach is a salt marsh habitat with scattered, low dunes; I found these beetles running quickly about near the shoreline, skittishly flitting away as I approached. Photographing  this species was a lengthy process, as they are so flighty, but I finally crawled up a couple of individuals and was able to get a couple of shots.

This species occurs from the Gulf coast of Florida up to Maine on shoreline habitats. Quite active, this species is active both during the day and at night; it will regularly come to lights. The hallmark of this species is the disjointed middle maculation; they share this with a closely species, E. hamata, which occurs along the Gulf coast.

For more information see here

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3 responses

  1. Nice photos – this is, indeed, a tough subject to photograph. The first (and only time) I encountered it was at blacklights – I kept some live until the next day and placed them on the sand at the collection site covered by a lens cap to try to get them settled down. I would then get setup with the camera and have my friend carefully lift the lens cap while I starting taking shots. Several flew away immediately before I got one that was a little more cooperative.

    In Missouri, they are very difficult to distinguish from E. cuprascens – the elytral tips of the females has shown itself to be the best separating character.

    January 29, 2011 at 10:03 am

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