Jun 30
Puritan tiger beetle  (Cicindela puritana)

Puritan tiger beetle (Cicindela puritana)

Species: Puritan tiger beetle (Cicindela puritana)

Status: Endangered (EN)

Interesting Fact: Tiger beetles are named for their tiger-like hunting behaviour – they will chase down and capture prey in their large mandibles.

The Puritan tiger beetle is a medium-sized terrestrial beetle found in north-eastern North America. It can be found on sandy beaches around fresh or brackish water. The adults are voracious hunters and will actively pursue their invertebrate prey. These beetles may in turn be predated by dragonflies, robber flies and jumping spiders.

The Puritan tiger beetle spends 23 months of its 2-year life cycle as a larva. These larvae create burrows, where they lie in wait for passing invertebrate prey. The larvae pass through three developmental stages before pupation in June of the second year, with adults emerging several weeks later. The adult mating season lasts between mid-July and continues until mid-August. The adults die off once the eggs have been laid. These hatch after about a week, completing the Puritan tiger beetle lifecycle.

The range of the Puritan tiger beetle has reduced drastically. Limited by the availability of sandy beach habitats, many suitable sites have been lost to urbanisation, river management works, plant succession and recreational use. Since 1990, the Puritan tiger beetle has been listed as ‘threatened’ under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and is also listed as ‘endangered’ in a number of states.  A recovery plan is also in place, aiming to protect the habitat, educate public and to monitor and reintroduce populations to its historical range. Since the Puritan tiger beetle was listed, the more intensely managed populations have increased in size. However, further declines have occurred at other sites.

Find out more about the Puritan tiger beetle on the  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.

Find out more about the Puritan tiger beetle on ARKive.