Once abundant along coastal beaches throughout much of the Northeast, today the northeastern beach tiger beetle can only be found in the Chesapeake Bay, a small area of New Jersey, and coastal Massachusetts. These tiny sand-colored beetles spend their whole lives on long, wide beaches with little human activity, often congregating at the water’s edge during warm days. The northeastern beach tiger beetle has been listed as threatened by the Service since 1990.
With a tiger-like behavior of chasing and catching their prey, adults consume small invertebrates and scavenge dead fish, crabs and amphipods that wash up on the beach. Larvae are sedentary ambush predators, feeding on prey that happens to pass by their burrows.
Northeastern beach tiger beetles have a bronze-green colored head and thorax, with long and slender bronze legs, and white or tan wing covers with bronze markings. Larvae have an iridescent green and bronze head and a long, segmented white abdomen.
Length: 0.5 in (13-15mm)
Adult and larval beetles are typically found on long, wide, dynamic beaches with fine sand and little human activity from the intertidal zone to the base of the dunes. Adult beetles are present from late May through September and are active on warm, sunny days where they can be seen feeding, mating, or basking along the water's edge. Larval beetles live in burrows and are present year-around on the beaches.
The land near a shore.
Mating occurs from late June through August. Females lay their eggs at or above the high tide line and larvae hatch in mid-summer. Larvae dig vertical burrows in the sand, growing and developing through three stages (called instars), and typically overwintering twice before pupating in the sand and emerging as adults. Adults live only a few months. The entire life cycle lasts about two years, with most adults dying off each September.