New Jersey Field Office
Northeast Region
 

Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle (Cicindela dorsalis dorsalis) [threatened]

On This Page

Additional Information

Northeastern beach tiget beetle

IN BRIEF

Habitat:
Sandy beaches

Diet:
Amphipods, flies, other invertebrates

Main Threats:
Habitat disturbance and destruction
Vehicle use
Environmental contaminants

Fun Fact:
Larvae are "sit and wait" predators that ambush prey from thier burrows.


Distribution of northeastern beach tiger beetle by municipality
Map of distribution of the northeast beach tiger beetle by municipality

Overview

The northeastern beach tiger beetle was federally listed as threatened in 1990.

About 0.5 inch long, the northeastern beach tiger beetle has a bronze-green head and thorax, and white to light tan wing coverings (elytra) often with dark lines. Tiger beetles are often the dominant invertebrate predators in habitats where they occur. Adults use their long mandibles to capture small amphipods, flies, and other invertebrates along the water’s edge. Adults have also been observed scavenging on dead amphipods, crabs, and fish. Larvae are “sit and wait” predators that feed mainly on amphipods.

In New Jersey, northeastern beach tiger beetles inhabit wide, sandy, ocean beaches from the intertidal zone to the upper beach. Eggs are deposited in the mid- to above-high tide drift zone. Larval beetles occur in a relatively narrow band of the upper intertidal to high drift zone, where they can be regularly inundated by high tides. Larvae dig vertical burrows in the sand and wait at the burrow mouth to capture passing prey. Northeastern beach tiger beetle larvae pass through three developmental stages (instars) over 2 years, over-wintering twice as larvae, pupating at the bottom of their burrows, and emerging as winged adults during their third summer.

The northeastern beach tiger beetle was found historically along New Jersey’s undeveloped Atlantic coastal beaches from Sandy Hook to Holgate, but was eliminated (extirpated) from the State. In 1994, a population of the northeastern beach tiger beetle was re-established at the Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook Unit.

The primary threat to the northeastern beach tiger beetle is habitat disturbance and destruction from development, beach stabilization activities, and recreational beach uses including pedestrian and vehicle traffic, all of which affect the larvae. Other threats include spills of oil or other contaminants, pesticide use, natural or human-induced beach erosion, and natural factors such as predation and storms.

Distribution

Species Range: The northeastern beach tiger beetle occurs on beaches from Massachusetts to Virginia.

Distribution in New Jersey: The northeastern beach tiger beetle was found historically along New Jersey’s undeveloped Atlantic coastal beaches from Sandy Hook to Holgate, but was eliminated (extirpated) from the State. In 1994, a population of the northeastern beach tiger beetle was re-established at the Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook Unit.


Last updated: January 28, 2014
New Jersey Field Office
Northeast Region Ecological Services
Northeast Region Home


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Home Page | Department of the Interior  | USA.gov  | About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  | Accessibility  | Privacy  | Notices  | Disclaimer  | FOIA