Ellipsoptera lepida

Ghost Tiger Beetle
Ellipsoptera lepida

Identification:

Ghost Tiger Beetle Ellipsoptera lepida on the beach at Port Burwell, Ontario. Photo 3 of 3, July 06, 2009.
Ghost Tiger Beetle Ellipsoptera lepida on the beach at Port Burwell, Ontario. Photo 3 of 3, July 06, 2009.

Head: Greenish to reddish and covered with long white hair. Very large eyes.
Antenna: Pale yellow to brown, sometimes darkening toward tips.
Thorax (Pronotum): Greenish to reddish and covered with long white hair.
Wings (Elytra): Very pale cream to whitish with 2 light brown scroll-like marks on each wing, sometimes very faint. base of wings mottled. Abruptly narrows to tip, border wavy (sinuate), especially on female.
Legs: Pale cream to yellowish-brown, covered with short white hair. Hind thighs (femora) are very short, barely extending past the wings. Males have wider front feet with pads on underside.
Abdomen: Underside brownish-green bronzed and covered with dense white hair.

Size: 9 to 11 mm.

Habitat: Lakeshore and inland sand dunes with little vegetation.

Food: Smaller insects.

Flight Time: June to October

Life Cycle: Females lay a single egg in a sand burrow (about 50 eggs per female) around July. Larvae feed on insects passing in front of their burrow. Larvae burrows can be very deep – 2 to 3 meters. Two year life cycle with larvae over-wintering each winter. Larvae are 14 to 16 mm long with bronze-green head and thorax. Pupate in early summer and emerge late June. Mating takes place at night, usually in August. Adults avoid mid-day heat and fly only short distances. Usually stationary, they are almost invisible in the sand.

Comments: St. Lawrence River near Ottawa (Constance Bay),  Pinery Provincial Park, Lambton County and the Long Point area on Lake Erie from Port Burwell to Simcoe. Some locations recorded from Lake Ontario now extirpated (Erwin and Pearson 2008). Listed as S2 (threatened) in Ontario.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page