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Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetles

Posted by E.G.D. on December 14, 2011

I discovered the most lovely little beach beetle online, today!  It’s a great discovery, I think, because the northeastern beach tiger beetle is considered “imperiled” (per-endangered) and is not as commonly seen these days as it was in the past.

Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle (Photo by Nieminen, Gene - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Tada!  Aren’t they cute?  According to a pdf pamphlet by Virginia’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, “large, attractive, and cream colored, the northeastern beach tiger beetle roams beaches on the Chesapeake Bay and parts of the Atlantic Coast. Adults have a green-bronze head and thorax and paired dark markings on their cream-colored forewings, or elytra. These predatory beetles have large pinching jaws, long legs that allow fast movement, and long antennae. Adults are about 2/3 in. long; the larvae, already possessing large jaws, grow to 5/8 in.”

Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle in a Jar (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

These beetles are truly beach wildlife. They live between the high-tide line and the dunes, and larvae can be found in burrows in the upper intertidal zone.  If you’re in their habitat area and see little holes in the beach sand, you may be looking at larvae burrows!  Please avoid stepping on them.  According to a fact sheet by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, foot and vehicular traffic killing larvae is a large part of the reason the species is threatened.

So, happy beetle-spotting to all of you on the Atlantic coast and in the Chesapeake Bay area!  If you get a good picture of one, please share.  Mahalo- E.G.D.

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