Tiger beetles owe their name to their hunting prowess. Like the other members of the Cicindelinae subfamily, six-spotted tiger beetles are fearsome predators, both as adults and larvae. The adults have large eyes for spotting their prey and impressive mandibles for catching it, and move quickly.
The larva lies in wait to catch prey. It props itself at the entrance of its burrow, blocking the entrance with its flat, pluglike head and prothorax. It quickly grasps any passing insect (often an ant or fly), dragging it to the bottom of the burrow to devour it by liquefying it with its mandibles.
The larva uses a simple, effective method to protect itself when hunting. It anchors itself to the wall of the burrow with hooks on the fifth abdominal segment. This prevents it from being dragged out of the burrow by large, combative prey, and it never strays any farther than the distance allowed by the hooks.
Despite their impressive mandibles, these tiger beetles do not bite, unless they are handled clumsily. In that case, they may also spray a chemical from their abdomen to defend themselves.