East Asian Tiger Beetle Fact File

Cicindela chinensis

Credit: coniferconifer, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons








1 years

Larval Stage




Conservation Status


Not Evaluated

The East Asian tiger beetle or Chinese tiger beetle is found across parts of Asia as their name suggests.

One of their most notable features is the large jaws on the head which are used to seize small insects such as ants on which they can feed.

They are among the fastest insects on Earth. When running they reach such high speeds that they temporarily lose the ability to see and must stop to refocus on their target or surroundings.

Females deposit the eggs singly in the soil and when they hatch they enlarge their burrow where they may remain for up to the next year. Once they emerge they do not grow any further as an adult.

Read on to learn more about these incredible invertebrates.


What does the east Asian tiger beetle look like?

The east Asian tiger beetle is an insect and as such has a body divided in to three segments. These are the head, thorax and abdomen.

On either side of the body are three legs for a total of six. These legs are covered by small white hairs

On the head they have large compound eyes which allow them to spot prey. At the front of the head are the large jaws they use to seize food. Protruding from the front of the head are a pair of antennae used to feel.

Across their back they have metallic covered skin which is colored in shiny reds, greens and blues. This is broken up with a pattern of white spots.

Their body measures an average of 2cm (0.75in) long.


What does the east Asian tiger beetle eat?

The Japanese tiger beetle is a carnivore. They will feed on smaller insects such as ants. Their strong jaws are used to attack prey and capture it.

Their large eyes are the main way to find their prey.

Chinese Tiger Beetle

Credit: coniferconifer, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Where can you find the east Asian tiger beetle?

Asia is the native home of the East Asian tiger beetle where they can be found in China, Vietnam, Korea and Japan.


What kind of environment does the east Asian tiger beetle live in?

These animals are often found near water and rely on soft sandy or clay soils in which they can deposit their eggs.

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How does the east Asian tiger beetle produce its young?

The female east Asian tiger beetle will deposit her eggs in to the the soil one by one. After around two weeks these will hatch and a black colored larvae will emerge. They undergo complete metamorphosis as part of their life cycle.

These larvae initially live in a burrow underground. They will feed here before burrowing down and developing a pupal chamber. Their time is spent with the jaw open at the burrow entrance ready to snake on any insects passing by. Larvae have special hooks on the thorax to anchor them in place.

Their development in to an adult is variable and may take between 7 and 12 months.

The size of the adult beetle is determined by how much they eat in the larval stage and they do not grow as an adult.


What does the east Asian tiger beetle do with its day?

These animals will move rapidly over the ground. They are equipped with wings on the back which can be used to carry them across short distances.

Due to the high speeds they reach while running they will experience temporary vision loss and so must regularly stop to refocus on their target.

They are active during the day.

Chinese Tiger Beetle

Credit: Alpsdake, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the east Asian tiger beetle?

No information is currently available on the population status of the east Asian tiger beetle.

Quick facts

Four subspecies of the east Asian tiger beetle are recognized the Japanese tiger beetle (Cicindela chinensis japonica), Cicindela chinensis chinensis, Cicindela chinensis okinawana and Cicindela chinensis flammifera.

They may also be known as the Chinese tiger beetle.

Their genus name Cicindela comes from the Latin 'cicindela' meaning 'glowworm.' This is a reference to the metallic color of these beetles.

The Australian tiger beetle is among the fastest insects hitting speeds of 2.5m/s or 5.6mph.

Chinese Tiger Beetle

Credit: Public Domain


Seaman, R., 2021. Japanese Tiger Beetle. [online] Richard-seaman.com. Available at: <http://www.richard-seaman.com/Insects/Japan/Beetles/Tiger/index.html> [Accessed 20 September 2021].

Project Noah. 2021. Japanese Tiger Beetle. [online] Available at: <https://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/22643115> [Accessed 20 September 2021].

Coleopterafarm.cz. 2021. Cicindela chinensis | Coleopterafarm. [online] Available at: <https://www.coleopterafarm.cz/en/cicindela-chinensis/> [Accessed 20 September 2021].

ThoughtCo. 2021. Tiger Beetles: The Fastest Bugs on Six Legs. [online] Available at: <https://www.thoughtco.com/tiger-beetles-4126477> [Accessed 20 September 2021].

Hooper, R., 2021. Tiger beetle. [online] The Japan Times. Available at: <https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2001/04/20/environment/tiger-beetle/> [Accessed 20 September 2021].

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