Tiger beetles are jewel-toned insects that run so fast, they have to stop to see where they’re going. These long-legged beetles are fierce predators that use their formidable speed and large mandibles, or mouthparts, to hunt smaller insects and spiders. They often protect themselves with chemical defenses, and one species even releases a substance that smells like bubble gum.

Harlan Gough, a doctoral student in Akito Kawahara’s lab in the Florida Museum’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, created the most comprehensive phylogeny, or family tree, of tiger beetles to date. This tree provides an evolutionary framework for scientists studying the biology of these charismatic insects.

Daniel Duran of Rowan University, Emmanuel Toussaint of the Natural History Museum of Geneva and the Florida Museum’s Akito Kawahara co-authored the study.

Source: Harlan Gough, goughh@ufl.edu


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