Tiger beetles : Cicidela japonica

Jun.17,2000. M.Sekine

A tiger beetleI came across a tiger beetle, an old friend of mine, on a woodland path the other day. It's elytra shone lustrously in the bright summer day. When I was younger, I was keen on collecting insects. So I used to run after tiger beetles in my childhood. A good old memory rushed into my mind.
"Tiger beetle" is an appropriate name for these fierce and swift cicidelids, which stalk their prey along sandy banks on roadside and woodland paths. They are rather small, slender insects, just about the color of the sand or dirt upon which they run. However, one of the commonest species in Japan (Cicidela japonica) is a brilliant metallic green, cobalt blue and bronze-colored, like a precious jewel or it may be intricately designed like an exquisite brooch. When you approach a tiger beetle, it will run for a few feet, then fly to the ground for several more feet; as it alights it will turn to face you. In Japan, because of that behavior, tiger beetles are named "Michi-oshie" or "Show me the way."
Like a boy, I ran after the tiger beetle, filled with the nostalgic memories of my childhood, but I could hardly touch it. And I just missed grabbing hold of my good old days. They eluded me again.
C'est la vie.