I have been venturing out these past few weeks in the hope that the "season" of bugs has started again in central Thailand. Its been a dire few months in regards to insect spotting and I have been eagerly awaiting the hot season to arrive.
The hot season heralds the next big change in the forest's cycle. It is an age old signal to many species that the next stepping stone to the season of plenty, the rainy season, has been taken. Many trees are now bearing their fruits in anticipation of the arrival of the rains, birds are beginning to pair for nesting and some butterfly species are agreggating and puddling. It was a relief to head off to one of my little favourite spots and to see the baronness of the last few months replaced by an increased presence and activity of bees, wasps and butterflies. The "bug season" looks to have started at last for central Thailand.
And with those bees and wasps to feed on, one of my favourite insects, the tiger beetles, are now back on view. I was happy to see at least three tiger beetles of the species Cosmodela aurulenta juxtata this last Sunday morning. They are a very interesting beetle indeed. They are predatory. They feed on other insects and have evolved to do this by being extremely fast both on the wing and on the ground. They fly rather like a wasp with a lightning fast vertical take-off and manouvering. They are easier to spot though when they are moving on the ground, where their speed sets them out from the other insects.
Cosmodela aurulenta juxtata is quite common and easy to spot on the sandy banks of forest streams hunting their prey. They feed on nearly anything they can see and catch, including invertebrates that may be larger than themselves. Beetles, flies, bees, wasps, caterpillars, ants, grasshopper nymphs, and spiders are just a few of the invertebrates the tiger beetle may prey upon. But approach them slowly as tiger beetles are wary, probably because they are also preyed upon by dragonflies, robber flies, other tiger beetles, birds, and small vertebrates. Yet another fascinating species in Thailand.