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Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle Cicindela dorsalis dorsalis


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Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle
© Rodger Gwiazdowski

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Family: Cicindelidae, Tiger Beetles view all from this family

Description The Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle is a member of the family Cicindelidae. Tiger beetles are usually shiny metallic bronze, blue, green, purple, or orange and range from 3/8" to 7/8" (10-21 mm) long. These fast runners have long legs and long antennae that arise from the top of the head. Most are diurnal, sun-loving species found on beaches and dry soil. Adults often burrow into sand at night or on hot days and are easy to see at night using a flashlight. All adults are ferocious predators that seize small insects with powerful sickle-shaped jaws. Their S-shaped larvae are also predators; they construct vertical burrows in dry soil and seize prey in strong jaws while anchoring themselves with hooks located on the 5th abdominal segment.

Endangered Status The Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as threatened in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Once common from New England to the Chesapeake Bay, this beetle has been eliminated from most of its range. Several populations survive in the Chesapeake, and a single population of about 40 adults lives on the island of Martha's Vineyard, in Massachusetts. Human recreational use of shoreside habitats is the main culprit, along with coastal development. The beetles, their larvae, and their tunnels are crushed by both foot traffic and off-road vehicles.