These are two of the Cylindera celeripes (swift tiger beetle) larvae that I’m rearing. Note: nobody has ever reared this species before! Nobody has ever even seen its larvae (before now, that is).
These larvae hatched from eggs that were laid by adults I brought back from northwestern Oklahoma last summer. I placed the adults in a small terrarium of native soil – at first just to see if I could keep them alive, and then to see if I could get them to lay eggs. The adults lived for about 4 weeks, and a short time later larval burrows started appearing in the soil. I fed them once or twice a week by placing 2nd instar corn rootworm larvae in the open burrows or dumping Lygus nymphs into the terrarium and letting them catch them naturally. I wasn’t sure this was working, because as the summer progressed I saw fewer and fewer open burrows. By October, there were no open burrows, and I feared none had survived. Nevertheless, I placed the terrarium in a cool (10°C, or 50°F) incubator for the winter and pulled it back out in late March. Within one week ten larvae had reopened their burrows – I believe all but one of them are 3rd instars, which is the last instar before pupation, and since they have awoken they have fed voraciously on 3rd instar fall armyworm larvae, which I dangle above their burrow. I love watching them snatch the armyworm from my forceps and drag the hapless prey down into their burrow. I’ve already preserved examples of the three larval instars and will describe it shortly (although truth be told, the 2nd and 3rd instars are from larvae I found in the field – but that is a post for another day). However, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the piece de resistance – successfully rearing the species from egg to adult!
Photo Details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5X macro lens on Canon 50D, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, f/13-16, MT-24EX flash 1/8 power w/ Sto-Fen diffusers.
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2010