Most are probably aware of Minsmere's impressively diverse range of wildlife (well over 6000 different species now), but many are alarmed to discover the reserve boasts Tigers on the list. Luckily, these are not the striped cats that would view us as lunch, but the just as elusive Green Tiger Beetle. These are widespread little beetles, but not that common, so there's been quite a bit of interest from visitors recently trying to spot them. Sometimes you're lucky and they'll sit out in the open (they do like a nice sunny spot)
Unfortunately, they also like hiding in the undergrowth, laying in wait for prey to wander past. Tell me this is not scary!
They'll attack and eat pretty much anything that gets near them - bees, flies, spiders, or, like this one, ants
They hunt by spotting the prey and hurtling off towards it - they are one of the fastest animals you'll find in this country! Bizarrely, they run so fast, their eyesight cannot cope so they're effectively blind whilst in motion. The hunt is therefore a stop/start affair where it will run towards the prey, stop, look, run again until they can grab their meal with those massive pincers
If the Tiger was scaled up to human size, it would be running at a speed equivalent to us zipping along at ~200mph - pretty impressive!
When you see more than one, you can bet interesting stuff is going to happen - I assume this is a "Love is in the air" situation, but who knows, it might be a major disagreement!
Thankfully, when all that excitement has dissipated, the Tigers go back to their peaceful standing around. Waiting. Waiting patiently. For the next unfortunate victim to arrive.....
Find me on Flickr / All about your camera - The Getting off Auto Index
Chol:):) and how very interesting,...matching the Peregrine for speed. Many thanks, another bit of unusual info to store in the 'old greymatter...' As usual your excellent photography.
Of course, it's not just the Tigers on this little patch of ground. Little Blood Bees are poking about (they're cuckoos on mining bees typically - and are notoriously hard to pin down to the actual species, so I won't embarrass myself trying right now :-))
Nomad bees have a similar lifestyle, laying their egg inside someone else's burrow. This Painted Nomad specialises in the Yellow Legged Mining Bee
Interesting flies are clearly enjoying the sunshine - Spring Heath Robber Flies I think
And tiny little March flies sit around soaking up the rays as well
Keep your wits about you and you may spot a little Common Lizard - they're fast though, so just hope one will stop for a few seconds
And it will be no surprise to know that this is also perfect Adder habitat. Watch carefully where you place your feet!
Lot to learn
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