Endangered Species | Invertebrates
Mountain-Prairie Region
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Coral pink sand dunes tiger beetle

 

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  • Coral pink sand dunes tiger beetle. Credit: USFWS.

    Coral pink sand dunes tiger beetle. Credit: USFWS.

  • Coral pink sand dunes tiger beetle. Credit: Mark Capone / USFWS.

    Coral pink sand dunes tiger beetle. Credit: Mark Capone / USFWS.

  • Coral pink sand dunes tiger beetle trio. Credit: Mark Capone / USFWS.

    Coral pink sand dunes tiger beetle trio. Credit: Mark Capone / USFWS.

Coral pink sand dunes tiger beetle (Cicindela albissima)

The coral pink sand dunes tiger beetle (Cicindela albissima) is an insect in the order Coleoptera (beetles), and there are 109 species of tiger beetles in the genus Cicindela (common tiger beetles) in the United States and Canada.  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, the Great Sand Dunes tiger beetle (C. theatina), by over 600 kilometers (km) (378 miles (mi)).  The coral pink sand dunes tiger beetle occurs sporadically throughout the coral pink sand dunes geologic feature, but is concentrated in two populations—central and northern—which are separated by 4.8 km (3 mi).  The total range of the species is approximately 202 hectares (500 acres) in size.  

The coral pink sand dunes tiger beetle adults are 11 to 15 millimeters (0.4 to 0.6 inches) in length and have striking coloration.  Their 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 their eyes are particularly large.

Coral pink sand dunes tiger beetles are active predators, attacking and eating prey with their large and powerful mandibles (mouthparts).  The species requires high body temperatures for maximal predatory activity, and lower body temperatures will reduce their activity and feeding behavior.  Coral pink sand dunes tiger beetles can run or fly rapidly over the sand surface to capture or scavenge for prey, and adults feed primarily on ants, flies, and other small arthropods.

Similar to other tiger beetles, the coral pink sand dunes tiger beetle goes through several developmental stages.  These include an egg, three larval stages (known as “instars,” with each instar separated by molting), pupa, and adult.  Total estimated adult population size has ranged from 600 to 3,000 individuals, and is based on field surveys from 1999 through 2015.  

Primary stressors to the coral pink sand dunes tiger beetle are off-highway vehicle use and climate change.  We worked with State and County partners to develop a Conservation Agreement and subsequent amendments in 1997, 2009, and 2013.  The Conservation Agreement resulted in the implementation of conservation efforts for the tiger beetle including: (1) the establishment of protected conservation areas where OHV use is prohibited; (2) annual monitoring to evaluate population status, habitat, and population response to conservation actions; (3) development of translocation protocols; (4) protection of island habitats and their connectivity; and (5) enforcement of protection of the conservation areas.  These conservation measures are effective at providing substantial protection for the coral pink sand dunes tiger beetle and have resulted in a stable self-sustaining population of the species. 

 


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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.

 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: December 06, 2016
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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