Endangered Species
Mountain-Prairie Region
CORAL PINK SAND DUNES
TIGER BEETLE

Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle

The Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle (Cicindela albissima) is a member of the family Cicindelidae and genus Cicindela.  The Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle occurs only at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes geologic feature in southern Utah and is separated from its closest related subspecies by 378 miles. 

Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle adults are approximately ½ inch in size and have striking coloration.  The large wing cases (known as elytra) are predominantly white except for a thin reddish band that runs down the length of the center.  Much of the body and legs are covered in white hairs.  The upper thorax (middle region) has a metallic sheen, and the eyes are particularly large.  Most tiger beetle species are habitat-specific and consequently are useful as indicators of habitat quality.  The Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle is restricted to sand dune habitat.

The species’ current range extends along the Coral Pink Sand Dunes geologic feature in Utah.  The Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a geologic feature named for the deep pink color of its sand dunes.  The Coral Pink Sand Dunes are located 3 miles north of the Utah-Arizona state line and 27 miles west of Kanab, Utah.  The Coral Pink Sand Dunes are about 8 miles long, averaging ½ mile in width, and 3,500 acres in surface area.  The Coral Pink Sand Dunes consist of a series of high, mostly barren, dry dune ridges separated by lower, moister, and more vegetated interdunal swales.  

The Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle occurs sporadically throughout the Coral Pink Sand Dunes geologic feature, but only consistently exists in two populations—central and northern— which are separated by 3 miles of dunes.  The two populations occupy a total area approximately 500 acres in size.  The central population is the largest and is self-sustaining, but at relatively low numbers.  The northern population is not considered self-sustaining and comprises only a small number of adults and larvae.

Loss of habitat is the leading cause of species extinction.  Off-Road Vehicle use significantly impacts the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle’s habitat, range, and the beetle itself by directly killing beetles, damaging vegetation that supports prey items, directly killing prey items, and reducing soil moisture.  Off-Road Vehicle use and the drought-related effects of climate change can reduce soil moisture.  Rainfall and associated soil moisture is a critical factor for desert tiger beetles, and is likely the most important natural factor affecting population dynamics of Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle.

Current evidence suggests that the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle may become threatened with extinction in the foreseeable future, therefore, the Service proposed to list the beetle as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (Act).

Recent Actions: On October 2, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a notice withdrawing a proposal to list the Coral Pink Sand Dunes (CPSD) tiger beetle under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The decision was reached after the Service worked with county, state and federal partners to expand an existing conservation agreement that will better protect the rare invertebrate’s habitat in Kanab, Utah. The conservation agreement – signed by the Service; Bureau of Land Management; Utah Department of Natural Resources; and Kane County, Utah – expanded on the success of existing conservation measures to comprehensively address all threats to the species, to the point that the beetle no longer meets the definition of a threatened or endangered species under the ESA.

On May 3, 2013, the Service reopened the comment period for our listing and critical habitat proposal for an additional 30 days. On October 2, 2012, we published a proposed rule to list the tiger beetle and accepted comments from the public until December 3, 2012. We are reopening the comment period for our listing and critical habitat proposal for an additional 30 days to allow the public to comment on the proposal, the associated draft Economic Analysis (DEA), the Draft Environmental Assessment, a Conservation Agreement amendment, and the amended required determinations section. Comments on the rule must be received on or before June 5, 2013. 

An informational meeting and public hearing will be held May 22, 2013 on this proposed rule in Kanab, Utah, at the Kanab City Library, 374 North Main, Kanab, Utah 84741. The public informational meeting will run from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM, followed by public speaker registration at 6:00 PM, and then the public hearing for oral testimony from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. 

On October 2, 2012, the Service proposed to protect the species under the Act, and is seeking new information from the public and the scientific community that will assist the agency in making a final determination.

Last updated: October 17, 2013