Tiger Beetles of North Carolina
Scientific Name: Common Name:
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View CARABIDAE Members: 44 NC Records

Ellipsoptera gratiosa - Whitish Tiger Beetle



Photo by: E. Corey

Photo by: Mark Shields
Taxonomy
Family: CARABIDAE Subfamily: Cicindelinae Subgenus: EllipsopteraSynonym: Cicindela gratiosa                                                             
Comments: One of thirteen species in this genus, all of which occur in North America north of Mexico with a few also extending southward (Pearson et al., 2015); four have been recorded in North Carolina.
Species Status: No subspecies have been described (Pearson et al., 2015)
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Evans (2014)Online Photographs: BugGuideTechnical Description, Adults/Nymphs: Knisley and Schultz (1997); Pearson et al. (2015)                                                              
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: This species is strongly psammophilic, with nearly all of our records coming from dry-to-xeric areas of open sand located in or adjacent to Longleaf Pine-dominated woodlands. While we have found it in coastal Sandhill Scrub communities located close to the coast, we do not have any records from the dunes associated with barrier islands. One record from the Mountains seems out of place, at least as the site of a breeding populations. Pearson et al. (2015) report that larvae dig burrows in areas with mixed sand and clay substrates.
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: This species is well-camouflaged against its pale sand backgrounds. Its active behavior, however, makes it fairly conspicuous.
Abundance/Frequency: Fairly common on sand ridges and dunes
Adult Phenology:
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G3G4 [S3S4]
State Protection: As with other North Carolina insects, no state laws provide them any protection. Permits must be obtained, however, to collect them in State Parks and other nature preserves
Comments: This species is a strong habitat specialist and large areas of its sandhill habitats have been converted to pine plantations, golf courses, and other human uses. Suppression of naturally occurring fires is also changing the once open barrens habitats it prefers to shrub thickets or closed canopy forests. 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 Ellipsoptera gratiosa - Whitish Tiger Beetle

Recorded by: Mark Shields
Brunswick Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields
Pender Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields
Hoke Co.
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Recorded by: Rob Van Epps
Columbus Co.
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Recorded by: Rob Van Epps
Columbus Co.
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Recorded by: Rob Van Epps
Columbus Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields
Brunswick Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields
Columbus Co.
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Recorded by: Morgan Freese
New Hanover Co.
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Recorded by: Morgan Freese
New Hanover Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Jeff Beane
Bladen Co.
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Recorded by: E. Corey
Bladen Co.
Comment: Observed on a sand ridge
Recorded by: Chris Helms
Columbus Co.
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Recorded by: Dorothy E. Pugh
New Hanover Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall
New Hanover Co.
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