Omus californicus- California Night-stalking Tiger Beetle



     Omus californicus also known as the California Night-stalking Tiger Beetle is an insect that is found mainly in California but there also have been sightings of the beetle in Oregon, primarily in the southwest area (Pearson et al. 2006). Tiger Beetles as a subspecies Cicindelinae can be found all over the world. The species of Tiger Beetle in the genus Omus live throughout the western part of the United States, in the states of Oregon, Washington, and California. This genus is also found in British Colombia, Canada; however, the California Night-stalking Tiger Beetle, in accordance with its name mainly inhabits regions of California (Pearson et al. 2006).
California Giant Redwood
    Within this region, the tiger beetle inhabits areas between meadows and forestlands where there are an abundance of coniferous trees, also the home to Steller's Jay. One of the main trees Omus californicus prefers to live near are the grand Redwoods. These trees are found on the banks of streams, west of the coastal part of the Klamath Mountains 900 meters in elevation (Pearson et al. 2006). This Tiger Beetle is not found in the San Joaquin Valley; however, as the altitude increases along the west side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the population of beetles becomes present once again. On the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, this species is found throughout California inhabiting altitudes that reach a maximum of 2400 meters (Pearson et al. 2006). At these high altitudes, this beetle can be found once again on the ground of coniferous forests but, instead of living near redwoods, this beetle prefers to inhabit areas dominated by Giant Sequoia trees (Pearson et al. 2006).  In the elevations that are between 900 meters and 2400 meters, Omus californicus is primarily located on the floor of Digger Pine and Ponderosa forests. At these different elevations subspecies of the California Night-stalking Tiger Beetle are also found. (Pearson et al. 2006).

     Depending upon time of year, Tiger Beetle adults may or may not be active. In the coastal areas, these tiger beetles are active during the summer months of March through June. In contrast, the beetles that inhabit the northern parts of California and the mountain range, the species is commonly seen between January and May (Pearson et al. 2006). Finally if searching for the California Night-stalking Tiger Beetle in the region of the southern Sierra Nevada Mountain range, the beetle is typically active during the months of late April through June (Pearson et al. 2006).

     When active, Omus californicus move through leaf litter, fallen leaves that pile on the ground. They stay concealed in leaf litter because this debris acts as camouflage aiding in protection to allow the organism to blend into the surroundings, which helps to avoid being spotted by predators (Pearson et al. 2006). In all these different habitats the Tiger Beetle adults are found living in the ground in burrows they make on the steep sides of riverbanks, usually made in the soil of wet clay (Pearson et al. 2006). Tiger Beetles are nocturnal and therefore come out at night to eat and move around (Erwin. 2011). They have also been known to come out on cloudy days even if the temperature is around freezing. Once temperatures become to cold they will return to their burrows and remain inactive until it is warm enough to come out again (Pearson et al. 2006). Tiger beetles are cold-blooded organisms and need heat from the sun to warm up their bodies. When it is to cold outside they move slower because their blood is too cold and the organism tries to find shelter till the morning when they can once again increase body temperature by the sun.
Leaf Litter

    There is a lot of diversity in animal life where you can find the California Night-stalking Tiger Beetle. Within these regions of southwest California there are numerous species of different animals living among tiger beetles. Some of the animals found living amongst the beetles in their lower altitude habitat are black bears, coyotes, western screech owls, bobcats, skunks (Spotted Skunk), dusky footed wood rats, and deer. As elevation increases in the mountains, animals like great grey owl, Dusky grouse, and different types of ground squirrels, and gophers are found in abundance. This beetle can also be found in areas very similar to that of Anna's hummingbird. Even though all these animals may not be aware of the presence of tiger beetles, they can be found living among and around Omus californicus.





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