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Virginia Big-headed Tiger Beetle (Tetracha virginica)


There is no overview information available for that species.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Virginia Big-headed Tiger Beetle (Tetracha virginica). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Tetracha virginica in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusSC/N
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1S2
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

Identification: Large dark green beetle with no markings on the elytra. Jaws, antennae, legs are yellow-brown or rust-colored. The pronotum narrows toward the posterior end. Sides of the thorax and elytra metallic green. Ventral surface is dull green, brown, or blackish with the tip of the abdomen cream-colored. Body glabrous. Largest tiger beetle in the state. Length: 20-24mm.

Similar Species: May be distinguished from large ground beetles (Carabidae) by the long sickle-shaped mandibles and the location of antennae. Carabids have the antennae inserted between the base of the mandibles and the eyes. Cicindelids have the antennae inserted on the front of the head above the base of the mandibles. Tiger beetles have very large eyes relative to the size of the head and distinctive light markings on a dark background. Most ground beetles are unicolorous black, brown, or green.

Habitat: Found in woody area of sand prairie in Wisconsin.

State Distribution: Sauk County.

Global Distribution: New England to Nebraska and south to Texas and Mexico.

Phenology: This is a summer species with peak abundance probably in late July-early August.

Life and Natural History: The adults are typically solitary and spend the day under rocks and logs becoming active at night. They may come out when it is overcast or after rains during the day.

Survey Guidelines: May be attracted by lights at night.

Inventory, Monitoring and Research Needs: Survey potential habitat with blacklights. Barrier pitfall trapping was successfully used in the New Jersey pine barrens for this species.



Virginia Big-headed Tiger Beetle

Photo by Kathryn Kirk, WDNR.

Virginia Big-headed Tiger Beetle

Photo by Kathryn Kirk, WDNR.

Last revised: Wednesday, September 19, 2018