ID Challenge #10

It’s time to begin Session #4 of the BitB Challenge Series.  Ben Coulter won Sessions #1 and #2 but was finally unseated by Max Barclay in Session #3.  We start Session #4 with a straight up ID Challenge.  Unlike previous ID Challenges, however, the order and family are gimmes this time, so I’m going to take them off the table and award double (4) points each for the correct genus and species (suggestion: being a stickler for details will increase your chances for full points).  Standard challenge rules apply, including moderated comments (to give everyone a chance to take part) and possible bonus points for being the first to guess correctly (if multiple people offer the same correct answers), offering additional relevant information, or—as always—the ability to make me chuckle.

Reminder: nobody walks away empty-handed, so it pays to try even if you think you’re stumped.  The pity points you earn in IDC#10 could make a difference in the final standings at the end of Session #4.

Good luck!

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2011

39 thoughts on “ID Challenge #10

  1. Ted, you magnificent ********! Cicindela floridana! Or the beetle formerly known as Cicindela scabrosa floridana. Though in their paper, Brzoska, Knisley, and Slotten use Cicindelidia at full generic rank. This beast could be separated from C. scabrosa by the metallic greenish reflections, and the pine rockland habitat. I am amazed.

    • Congratulations – you nail the ID and take the early lead. In addition to 4 pts each for genus (I’ll accept either Cicindela or Cicindelidia, since recognition of the latter as a full genus is not universal) and species, you get 5 bonus points for each of the other correct responders who you beat to the punch and another for referencing the important Brzoska et al. paper.

      Total = 14 pts

    • Right genus, but the species, though very closely related, is not quite right.

      I do have to deduct a point for not using italics with the scientific binomen, but you get the point back for being the only one to notice and comment on my cursor hovering joke!

      Total = 4 pts

      • I didn’t realize it was possible to use italics in a comment. Not haggling for a point here, just taking the opportunity to experiment and see if HTML code is how you do it… I sure wish there was a way to do italics in the photo captions!

        • Easy, huh? 🙂

          I’ve tried to figure out a way to do italics in the captions and haven’t been successful.

          My insistence on italics and full, properly spelled names may seem overly pedantic, but it’s a good way to introduce the possibility of score separation. Besides, my taxonomy teacher never gave me a break on misspelled names!

    • I am assuming by “C.” you mean “Cicindela” or “Cicindelidia”, in which case you have the correct ID. That would have been worth 8 pts, but as those who play here regularly know, “implied” names only get half credit, and lack of italics for scientific binomina also get a 1 pt ding (sorry, if I don’t do it I’ll get mobbed by my earlier victims!).

      You did, however, beat 4 other people with the correct ID, so that brings your total up to 9 pts!

  2. Hmmm…. tricky non-UK species but here’s my attempt:

    Cicindela floridana which I believe used to be Cicindela scabrosa var. floridana but has recently been raised to full species level. Reasons are; the overall form and apparent small size (going by the sand grains – if correct it’s no more than about 1cm long), colour, pale apical elytral patches, red abdomen, fairly coarse punctures on the elytra (shiny between) plus a slightly irregular row of larger elytral ‘foveae’, plus the pale whitish mouthparts. It’s part of the C. abdominalis complex and I think found only on open sandy patches in the Miami area e.g. remnants of the fire-dependant pine rockland habitat. This requires management (e.g. tree cutting or controlled burns) to prevent excessive vegetation cover – the ‘original’ habitat would have had an open canopy of Florida Slash Pine (Pinus elliotti var. densa) with a diverse understorey. Now the plant cover is denser with saw palmetto, plus other natives and non-natives such as hardwood tree species and vines. Hence, following holotype collection in 1934, development in the area, it was believed to be extinct, but was rediscovered in 2007 and hunts small invertebrates such as ants.

    Fingers crossed I’ve got the right species!

    • Good job, Dave – a correct ID is worth 8 pts, and the very nice explanation of the distinguishing characters and features of its habitat are worth at least 2 bonus pts. Plus 3 bonus points for those you beat with the timing. I do, however, have to give you the 1 pt no-italics ding (you should know better by now).

      Total = 12 pts

  3. Hey Ted.
    Nice picture… usual.
    Given your recent trip to Florida and your love of endemics, I think this is Scabrous Tiger Beetle (Cicindella scabrosa) It appears to have dense setae on the underside which would separate it from C.abdominalis.

  4. Well, if it’s not one of the “common tiger beetles” (genus Cicindela), it sure is an excellent mimic of one. Specifically, I went through the tiger beetles looking for something with similar stilty legs, highly buggy eyes, brassy-colored, white-tipped elytra, and a metallic green underbody, and found Cicindela politula politula, the Limestone Tiger Beetle.

    Granted, all the pictures of these on BugGuide are from Texas, but that isn’t *too* far from Missouri.

    • Yes on the genus (broad sense—actually Cicindelidia according to its discoverers), but this beetle wasn’t photographed in Texas or Missouri. The location of my most recent posts was a clue 🙂

      Total = 4 pts

  5. Ted, You KNOW I’m a Coleopteric Ignoramus; however, I’m gonna go out on a limb and call this a “round-thoraxed tiger beetle, C. terricola.

    • I will presume that “C.” means “Cicindela and award half points for a correct though implied genus, but then I gotta turn around and knock off a point for no italics.

      I guffawed when I read “Coleopteric Ignoramus”, however, so you gets that point back – total = 2 pts

  6. Although, I see that the Eastern Red Bellied Tiger Beetle Cicindela rufiventris that you posted almost exactly a year ago looks suspiciously similar to this one here. Except that in that post, you mention that the row of sutral punctures on the elytra distinguishes it from “Cicindela ubiquita“, which you posted almost exactly a year before that. Are you trying to see if we’ve been paying attention?

    So, on further consideration, I think I see the elytral punctures on this year’s beetle, and the Limestone Tiger Beetle I guessed first doesn’t have them. So, since it looks like your name of Cicindela ubiquita in 2009 doesn’t appear in Bug Guide, and looks like it was intended as a bit of a joke, I’ll have to go with Cicindela punctulata. Which doesn’t look quite right either – there are too many punctures. Well, heck. I’ve got to stop somewhere, so I may as well stick with this one.

    • I’ll bet you could find a conspiracy theory in anything—I didn’t even realize the coincidental timing of my previous “Cicindelidia” posts.

      You won’t be threatening anybody for the win this time, so I’m gonna show some appreciation for the dedication of your sleuthing and give you a 1 pt bonus point for thinking “outside the box” in your research – new total = 5 pts.

  7. Knowing nothing more of tiger beetles than I’ve garnered from your blog I turned straight to BugGuide and played a hunch. Given your recent travels to my great state of Florida I browsed the state’s tiger beetles and quickly came across a likely candidate, Cicindela abdominalis. The same white markings on the elytra, similarly colored tarsi. But something was not quite right. Ah, the elytra is way more . . . punctured (is that what you guys call it) in your specimen. Another quick search and I come up with Cicindela scabrosa. Makes sense, there is plenty of scrub habitat in the area of the state that you visited. One more quick google search just to make certain of the ID and what pops up? A link to this very blog. If I am correct, you have already made a post about the recent rediscovery of this very subspecies of C. abdominalis. Your specimen does certainly have some striking green coloring and I bet you just couldn’t resist attempting to find such a rare creature so I will go with Cicindela abdominalis floridana for my final answer. Sorry for the rambling.

    • For knowing nothing about tiger beetles, you have done quite well. A correct ID is worth 8 pts, 2 bonus pts also for getting your correct answer in before two other people, and 1 bonus pt for nice explanation of your deductive process. One quibble, however—this species was considered a subspecies of C. scabrosa rather than C. abdominalis, and as my previous post mentioned it was elevated to full species rank. Sorry, but I gotta ding you a point there.

      Total = 10 pts

  8. Since your last two posts have been tiger beetles you found in Florida, I figured that’s where I’d start. I found some photos of Cicindela abdominalis that seemed to have the same body shape and looked to be about the same size, but they weren’t quite right. However, continuing along that path I came across this paper and this page, both about C. floridana. After reading about this species and looking at the photos there were some similarities that jumped out at me. These were the cream-colored maculations at the tips of the elytra, the rows of fovea/pits along the inside edge of the elytra, the bronzy-green coloring, and the cylindrical body shape. I’m still not positive, but I am reasonably sure that this little beauty is Cicindela floridana , formerly Cicindela scabrosa floridana .

    • Hello Mr. Large Salticid Genus – you have deduced the correct ID, worth 8 pts, plus a bonus point for beating another person with the correct ID and another still for citing that all important paper by Brzoska et al. (2011). The apical elytral maculations, rows of foveae/pits, and cylindrical body are not diagnostic, but the bronzy-green coloration certainly is.

      Total = 10 pts

    • Hi Jon – “Cicindela (or Cicindelidia)” is the right genus (actually the latter according to Brzoska et al. 2011), but the species is just off. Also, as much as it pains me, I gotta deduct the mandatory 1-pt non-italics penalty.

      Total = 3 pts

  9. I immediately believed this to be Cicindela scabrosa based on the body type and markings and based on one of your older posts (with a photo of C. scabrosa and related species) I figured this was C. scabrosa floridana. These are rare however, and i’m not sure if you were in a location in which this recently rediscovered species is still found. It does bear the characteristic maculations and greenish coloration so i’m pretty confident though.

    Order (given): Coleoptera
    Family (given): Carabidae (subfamily Cicindelinae)
    Genus: Cicindela
    Species: scabrosa
    Subspecies: floridana?

    • Good job, Roy – good thing you stuck with your gut because the species ID is correct. I’ll give you 8 pts for the ID and a bonus pt for explaining the diagnostic characters. As others have learned, however, the lack of italics results in a 1 pt ding.

      Total = 8 pts

  10. Hi Ted,
    In keeping with your blog’s current inordinate fondness for tiger beetles…
    my guess would be Cicindela scabrosa based on the white hairs on the pronotum and the elytral punctation. I don’t see the post-median marginal spot though, so maybe Cicindela floridana. BUT – since floridana is supposed to be rare and since your Florida vacation was based in St. Pete, I’m sticking with scabrosa. 🙂


    p.s. – I grew up in Sarasota, FL. Hope you had a great time around there!

    • Hi Traci – yes, I am quite focused on tiger beetles right now. Look for that to continue for the time being…

      Never underestimate the lengths to which this cicindelophile will go to find rare tiger beetles. I may have been based in St. Pete, but I traveled 1,100 miles during my 48-hour blitz!

      You get full genus points and one pity point for talking yourself out of the correct ID despite pointing out characters that suggested it – total = 5 pts

  11. Me again. Cicindela (or Cicindelidia) highlandensis is restricted to florida and has only been known to occur in sandy pinewood forests in central forida, if you’re giving away the family (tigers) that easily, you would not want it to be a common widespread tiger. Plus, the photograph has pine needles and sandy soil in it. and to my knoledge, in the last post you published you mentioned a “blitz” through florida, you wouldn’t drive all that way without stopping to look for a highly resticted tiger beetle would you? But, with my luck, I just jynxed myself with over confinedence : / 🙂

    • Your logic is flawless. Unfortunately, I’ve already featured C. highlandensis from my 2009 trip, and there is now an even rarer and closely related species than that.

      I’m going to add a bonus point to your total, however, for thinking along the right lines – new total = 4 pts

  12. Pingback: Photographing the Newly Rediscovered Cicindelidia floridana « Beetles In The Bush

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