Tiger Beetles of North Carolina
Scientific Name: Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
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View CARABIDAE Members: 12 NC Records

Cicindela nigrior - Autumn Tiger Beetle



Photo by: Jeff Beane

Photo by: Ed Corey

Photo by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan

Photo by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan
Taxonomy
Family: CARABIDAE Subfamily: Cicindelinae Subgenus: Cicindela                                                             
Comments: One of 38 species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Pearson et al., 2015), 12 of which have been recorded in North Carolina
Species Status: No subspecies have been described, although there are two color forms that appear to be somewhat clinal from north to south (Pearson et al., 2015)
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: BugGuideTechnical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Knisley and Schultz (1997); Pearson et al. (2015)                                                              
Structural photos
Distribution in North Carolina
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥
 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) <
 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)
Click on graph to enlarge
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Like Cicindela scutellaris, C. nigrior is highly psammophilic, associated with dry to xeric sandhills with large areas of bare sand. In their description of this species, Vick and Roman (1985) reported that nigrior prefers areas of hard-packed sand with substantial clay content whereas scutellaris prefers loose sands (see also Knisely and Schultz, 1997; Pearson et al., 2015).
See also Habitat Account for Xeric-Mesic Sand Barrens and Glades
Diet: Predacious, presumably feeding on a wide variety of small insects and other arthropods
Observation Methods: As a diurnally active species, the dark green or purple forms of this species are conspicuous against the pale sands of its preferred habitats. When disturbed, it often lands in grass clumps or other herbaceous vegetation, unlike scutellaris, which tends to land on sand (Vick and Roman, 1985; Knisely and Schultz, 1997; Pearson et al., 2015)
Abundance/Frequency:
Adult Phenology:
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: SR
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G2G3 [S1S2]
State Protection: This species is listed as Significantly Rare by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, which gives it some value in identifying priority natural areas for conservation but does not give it any sort of legal protection. Nor is protection provided by either the Federal or State Endangered Species Acts. While all species are eligible for federal protection, the populations of this species are still considered relatively secure at the national level, and in the case of North Carolina endangered species protection, no insects even qualify for statewide protection no matter how endangered they might be within the state. This is markedly different from the case of vertebrates, molluscs, or crustaceans, all of which may receive protection from hunting, collection, or other forms of exploitation depending on their state conservation status. Individual state agencies -- such as the Division of Parks and Recreation and Wildlife Resources Commission -- can nonetheless require permits for collecting insects on lands they own or manage. The same is true for other types of nature preserves.
Comments: This species is globally rare with small global range and very few documented occurrences (NatureServe Explorer, 2018). In North Carolina, it is currently known from four sites: Anson County in the Piedmont (possibly associated with relict riverine sand deposits from the PeeDee) and Scotland, Richmond, and Moore Counties in the Fall-line Sandhills. Although this species currently appears to be one of our rarest insects, more surveys need to be conducted during its fall breeding season in North Carolina -- particularly in the Fall-line Sandhills -- to more accurately determine its overall distribution, habitat associations, and population trends. Management recommendations include protection of larval habitats from the impacts of sand-mining, off-road vehicle use, and trampling from human foot-traffic. Where associated with fire-maintained vegetation, prescribed burns should be used to keep the habitats open.

Photo Gallery for Cicindela nigrior - Autumn Tiger Beetle

Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan
Scotland Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan
Scotland Co.
Comment: Several mating pairs were seen
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan
Scotland Co.
Comment: Several mating pairs were seen
Recorded by: Ed Corey
Scotland Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Scotland Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel
Scotland Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ed Corey
Scotland Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ed Corey
Scotland Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips
Scotland Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jeff Beane
Scotland Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jeff Beane
Scotland Co.
Comment: Same area as where first found in 2014
Recorded by: Jeff Beane
Scotland Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jeff Beane
Scotland Co.
Comment: Mating aggregation in open, sandy area along sand access road between old food plot field and open longleaf pine-turkey oak-wiregrass woods; probably at least 30 individuals (may have been 50+) in an area of several square meters. All that I saw were green/blue; did not notice any black phase. Sunny; zero cloud cover. I had been measuring air temps. and soil temps. with a probe thermometer for telemetered snakes earlier that a.m. in the same area, and those ranged from 13.1-18.3°C air and 14.4-16.5C° soil (but not in that exact spot; both air and soil were probably at least that warm or warmer in the tiger beetle spot). These were a little slower and easier to approach and catch than most Cicindela that I’ve seen (but that might have been because they were preoccupied). I have visited this area and walked past this spot many times over the years, and I can’t recall if I have ever seen them there before or not.
Recorded by: Jeff Beane
Scotland Co.
Comment: