Texas Beetle Information

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South Texas Giant Tiger Beetle

Amblycheila hoversoni Gage, 1990

Family Carabidae, Subfamily Cicindelinae, Tribe Omini


South Texas Giant Tiger Beetle - Amblycheila hoversoni Gage, 1990

Webb County, Texas
(Dan Sundberg)

Texas County Records for Amblycheila hoversoni

South Texas Giant Tiger Beetle - Amblycheila hoversoni Gage, 1990

County Record Source: Pearson et al. 2005

Range: South and West Texas, not yet collected in Mexico.

Size: 32-36 mm (1.3-1.4 inches)

Adult Activity Period: April to November, except June. Most active after rainy periods in the spring and fall. 


Adults completely nocturnal and flightless. They are mostly seen after midnight running near animal burrows which they retreat into during the day.
Larvae have been found in the ceilings (!) of badger and armadillo burrows!

Survey Methods: Giant Tiger Beetles are not attracted to lights at night...

Commercial Value: The Insect CompanyInsects International

Conservation Status: G3 NatureServe

Type Specimen: Amblycheila hoversoni Gage - Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University

Type Locality: 16 miles south of George West, Live Oak County, Texas - 1 May 1990

Note: This is the Largest Tiger Beetle in the Western Hemisphere yet it was only described by Ed V. Gage in 1991!

Similar Species: There are some 57 species and subspecies of Cicindelinae in Texas (E.G. Riley, pers. comm., 2006)

Tribe Omini:

Giant Tiger Beetles, Genus Amblycheila, seven species five of which occur north of Mexico.

Montane Giant Tiger Beetle - Amblycheila baroni 

Giant Plains Tiger Beetle - Amblycheila cylindriformis - Texas

South Texas Giant Tiger Beetle - Amblycheila hoversoni - Texas

Plateau Giant Tiger Beetle - Amblycheila picolominii - Texas

Mojave Giant Tiger Beetle - Amblycheila schwarzi

Night-stalking Tiger Beetles, Genus Omus - Least well known Tiger Beetle genus, all occur on the West Coast.

Audouin's Night-stalking Tiger Beetle - Omus audouini
California Night-stalking Tiger Beetle - Omus californicus
Mount Ashland Night-stalking Tiger Beetle - Omus cazieri
Greater Night-stalking Tiger Beetle - Omus dejeanii 
Lustrous Night-stalking Tiger Beetle - Omus submetallicus

Dromo Tiger Beetles, Subgenus Dromochorus, three species, all restricted to south-central North America.

Loamy-ground Tiger Beetle - Cicindela (Dromochorus) belfragei (includes: pruinina) - Texas
Cajun Tiger Beetle - Cicindela (Dromochorus) pilatei - Texas
Velvet Tiger Beetle - Cicindela (Dromochorus) velutinigrens - Texas


     ambl, -y (G). Blunt
     cheil, -o =us (G). A lip

om, -o (G). The shoulder; 
          raw, unripe

cicindel, =a (L).
         A glowworm
drom, -a, -ae, -aeo, -i, -o, =us (G). Run; running; a race
     chor, -o (L). Achorus; (G). dance; a place


Arnett, R.H., Jr., &  M.C. Thomas. (editors). 2000. American Beetles. Volume 1. Archostemmata, Myxophaga, Adephaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL. xvi + 443 pp.

Borror, D.J. 1960. Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms. National Press Books, Palo Alto. 134 pp.

Freitag, R.P. 1999. Catalogue of the tiger beetles of Canada and the United States. National Research Council Research Press, Ottawa, Canada. 195 pp. 

Gage, E.V. 1990. Description of a new species of Amblycheila from Texas with additional notes. (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae).
Cicindelidae: Bulletin of Worldwide Research 1(1): 1-10.

Knisley, C.B., & T.D. Schultz. 1997. The biology of tiger beetles and a guide to the species of the south Atlantic states. Virginia Museum of Natural History Special Publication Number 5. Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville, Virginia. 210 pp. 

Pearson, D.L. 2004. A list of suggested common English names for species of tiger beetles occurring in Canada and the U.S. Cicindela 36(1-2): 31-40.

Pearson, D.L., T.G. Barraclough, & A.P. Vogler. 1997. Distributional maps for North American species of tiger beetles (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae). Cicindela. 29(3-4): 33-84. 

Pearson, D.L., C.B. Knisley & C. J. Kazilek. 2005. A Field Guide to the Tiger Beetles of the United States and Canada: Identification, Natural History, and Distribution of the Cicindelidae. Oxford University Press, Oxford. vii + 292 pp.

10 Jul 2007   Mike Quinn / mike.quinn@tpwd.state.tx.us / Texas Entomology / Texas Beetle Information