OHLONE TIGER BEETLE } Cicindela ohlone
FAMILY: Carabidae

DESCRIPTION: The Ohlone tiger beetle is a brilliant green beetle measuring up to one-half inch in length. This beetle has prominent eyes, metallic green forewings, and long, coppery-green legs.

HABITAT: The species is found only on, and adjacent to, coastal prairie terrace habitat in Santa Cruz County, California. Native grassland marked by poorly drained clay soils is an important feature for the foraging, mating, and egg-laying activities of the beetle . The beetles require areas of low and sparse native vegetation for foraging, reproduction, and temperature regulation, and specific clay soils that provide moisture, composition, and temperature conditions necessary for egg-laying and larval development.

RANGE: The beetle is known from only five sites in Santa Cruz County, California.

MIGRATION: This species is nonmigratory.

BREEDING: Reproduction may begin soon after adult emergence or can be delayed. After mating, the female excavates a hole in the soil and lays a single egg.

LIFE CYCLE: Tiger beetle larvae undergo three larval development stages over a period of one to four years. After the larva emerges from the egg and becomes hardened, it enlarges the chamber that contained the egg into a tunnel. Before transformation from larva to adult, the larva will plug the burrow entrance and dig a chamber for pupation. After pupation, the adult tiger beetle will dig itself out of the soil and emerge.

FEEDING: Adult beetles prey on small arthropods. Larvae are also predatory, living in small vertical or slanting burrows from which they lunge and seize passing invertebrate prey.

THREATS: Urban development, alteration of suitable habitat by invasive plants, pesticides, illegal collecting, and other human impacts such as trampling threaten the species.

POPULATION TREND: The trend is unknown, but only five small beetle populations remain, occupying less than 25 acres.

Photo courtesy of USFWS