Purple Tiger Beetle

Species Name: Cicindela purpurea

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Species Distribution in Massachusetts

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Federal Rank: None

Massachusetts State Rank: Special Concern

Habitat Description

Areas of sandplain soils (or less often, sandy clay soils) with sparse or patchy vegetative cover, particularly sandplain grasslands and heathlands, as well as pitch pine- scrub oak barrens. Larval burrows occur in bare patches of sandy or sandy clay soils.

Threats to Survival

The decline of this species during the past 50 years is probably a result of its previous affinity for disappearing agricultural habitats. The Purple Tiger Beetle is threatened by habitat loss and suppression of fire, which is needed to maintain the open vegetation structure of its habitat. Off-road vehicles kill adult beetles and larvae by crushing them, as well as cause extensive habitat damage by rutting consolidated sand, rendering it unsuitable for larval burrows. Aerial insecticide spraying is a potential threat.

Actions Recommended to Ensure Survival

Regular burning of habitats to maintain an open vegetation structure. Limiting aerial insecticide spraying and use of off-road vehicles which kill adult beetles and larvae by crushing them. Limiting habitat loss is the most important factor in preserving their longevity as a species.