Six-spotted Tiger Beetle and Purple Phacelia

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Harry and I recently hiked to the Rock Garden, one of our favorite spots at Natural Bridge State Park. Among other things we enjoyed seeing a Six-spotted Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sexguttata). It doesn’t look at all like a tiger – the name refers to the fact that they hunt other insects.

Cicindela sexguttataThis one was half an inch long and a beautiful metallic green. It was easy to see when it was on the trail, but I lost sight of it when it flew to nearby greenery. This was the first one I’ve ever seen, although they are apparently fairly common to the eastern United States.

Once we got to the Rock Garden I was delighted to see a number of spring wildflowers. The Purple Phacelia (Phacelia bipinnatifida) was especially striking. The abundant bright-purple blossoms contrasted with the green foliage and the huge moss-covered boulders.

Phacelia bipinnatifidaIt was a beautiful setting and a lovely day to be in the woods. These two finds and other spring wildflowers were more than enough to fill my cup.

Note: Thanks for the comments on last week’s Red Admiral blog post. I was especially interested to hear of the Red Admiral sightings in northern Illinois and southern Ontario.

8 thoughts on “Six-spotted Tiger Beetle and Purple Phacelia”

  1. That insect is amazing! I have never seen one. We were in eastern KY on a mountaintop removal tour and the Phacelia and Wild Geraniums were lovely. Unfortunately the laurel was all bloomed out. I can’t get phacelia to grow in my yard. Do you know the secret?

    Jim and I were standing in our front yard by our tulip poplar this morning and heard a familiar sound. Then our summer resident baltimore oriole flew out of the tree to our neighbor’s yard. This is incredibly early but sure glad he got here in time to enjoy the feast.

    1. Linda, I’ve never tried to grow phacelia. I understand it can be invasive. I know Beate has it in her yard and likes it very much so she would be a good source of information. A resident baltimore oriole? What a treat! They are such beautiful birds.

  2. Love the emerald green beetle, Betty! A real stunner …

    Hasn’t the purple phacelia been especially lush this spring? In the last couple of weeks, I’ve enjoyed a couple of country excursions, and phacelia just carpeted some areas I visited. It’s one of my favorite wildflowers. I like the mossy boulder background, too!

    1. Thanks, Patsy. Glad you, too, have been enjoying the phacelia. That bright purple and lush green moss a winning combination in my book.

  3. Betty:

    I really like the beetle photo – what a beautiful insect! I’m curently reading a book I think you’d really enjoy: Chrysalis: Maria Sybilla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis by Amy Todd. It’s about a woman who was an illustrator of insects and how she went to Surinam – a self-funded expedition – with her daughter as her companion back in the 1600’s! It is a fascinating read (amazon link:

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