Cicindela fulgida fulgida Say, 1823
Crimson Saltflat Tiger Beetle, fulgida subspecies
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Basis for Listing
The crimson saltflat tiger beetle (fulgida subspecies) was first observed in Minnesota in 1967 on the north shore of Salt Lake in Lac Qui Parle County. The colony was verified in 1968-1970, but it may now be extirpated, as the water levels at this site have been very high for a number of years. An observation of this site in the summer of 2003 revealed minimal exposed shoreline and no red saltwort (Salicornia rubra), which is an indicator plant for this subspecies. There are no other localities of this subspecies known in the state. Given its restricted range and the vulnerability of its habitat, the crimson saltflat tiger beetle (fulgida subspecies) was listed as an endangered species in Minnesota in 1996.
Adult crimson saltflat tiger beetles (fulgida subspecies) are small, averaging 10-11 mm (0.39-0.43 in.) long, and are bright metallic red with 3 well-separated lunulate ivory markings on each wing cover. Older individuals may be a darker shade of red, resembling the westbournei subspecies.
The crimson saltflat tiger beetle (fulgida subspecies) is found in open, sparsely vegetated, moist saltflats with salt grass (Distichlis spicata), red saltwort, and a thin crust of magnesium sulfate.
Biology / Life History
Adult crimson saltflat tiger beetles (fulgida subspecies) emerge in the fall (as early as mid-August), begin hunting until colder weather, and then burrow underground for the winter. They re-emerge in early spring (mid-May), begin mating and laying eggs, and then slowly die-off as the summer progresses.
Conservation / Management
The crimson saltflat tiger beetle (fulgida subspecies) has very specific habitat requirements (Willis 1967), which formerly occurred in Minnesota only at the Salt Lake location. Its habitat is particularly vulnerable to changes in hydrology, which can cause increased water levels, and conversion of occupied sites for agricultural uses. Run-off from surrounding lands may also be a concern.
Conservation Efforts in Minnesota
It is not certain if the crimson saltflat tiger beetle (fulgida subspecies) still survives in Minnesota. Surveys for this species should be conducted at Salt Lake when water levels are lower.
Dawson, R. W., and W. Horn. 1928. The tiger beetles of Minnesota. University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 56. 13 pp.
Pearson, D. L., C. B. Knisley, and C. J. Kazilek. 2006. A field guide to the tiger beetles of the United States and Canada: identification, natural history, and distribution of the Cicindelidae. Oxford University Press, New York. 227 pp. + plates.
Willis, H. L. 1967. Bionomics and zoogeography of tiger beetles of saline habitats in the central United States (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae). University of Kansas Science Bulletin 47(5):143-313.