New York Natural Heritage Program
Hairy-necked Tiger Beetle
Cicindela hirticollis Say, 1817

Identifying Characteristics [-]
Like other tiger beetles in the northeast, the hairy-necked tiger beetle is a small insect approximately 0.5 inches (12-14 mm) in length with long sickle-shaped mouthparts, long thin antennae with 11 segments, a long body form with head and eyes wider than the middle portion (thorax) of the body, long thin legs for running, and a pattern of white markings (maculations) on wing covers (elytra) located on top of the main portion of the body (abdomen). The elytra of the hairy-necked tiger beetle are brown or bronze; the anterior maculations are G- and reverse-G-shaped. As with other tiger beetles, the larvae live in burrows in the ground and are white and grublike in appearance. (Pearson et al. 2006, Leonard and Bell 1999)

Characters Most Useful for Identification [-]
The hairy-necked tiger beetle, true to its name, has a hairier "neck" (thorax) than other tiger beetles in similar habitats; however, this character can be challenging without other species in hand for comparison. The G shape at the front of the elytra, as opposed to a C shape in C. repanda, is the best character for distinguishing this beetle.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
All tiger beetles are best identified as adults. Far fewer good diagnostic characters are available for identifying larvae, many species lack formal or complete larval descriptions, and there is no comprehensive key for those larvae that have been described (Pearson et al. 2006).

Behavior [-]
Most adult tiger beetles are diurnal animals, spending the warmer parts of the day running along the surface of the ground hunting, eating, and mating. They pursue prey by running in short, fast spurts interspersed with brief stops. Tiger beetles are most active on warm, sunny days and will retreat to burrows or hiding places at sunset or when skies become overcast.

Diet [-]
Tiger beetles are predatory on other insects. Little is known about specific diet items of the hairy-necked tiger beetle.
Hairy-necked Tiger Beetle Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
Active Larvae present and active
The time of year you would expect to find Hairy-necked Tiger Beetle active (blue shading) and larvae present and active (orange shading) in New York.
Similar Species
  • Bronzed Tiger Beetle (Cicindela repanda)
    C. repanda has a C shape at the front of the elytra and less dense hairs on the thorax.