Rare beetles returned to North Jersey shores

Rare beetles returned to North Jersey shores

Nearly 200 beetle larvae were moved last week from Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts to New Jersey at Sandy Hook, part of Gateway National Recreation Area, as part of an effort to restore the threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle to New Jersey.

Once abundant on beaches across the Northeast Atlantic coast, the rare beetle now occurs only in Massachusetts and along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and Virginia. A research team working with grant funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released beetle larvae for this federally listed threatened species on Sandy Hook beach areas that are managed for natural resources, and are a historic location for this species. The sites will be monitored later this summer, and additional translocations will occur in coming years.

About a half inch long, the northeastern beach tiger beetle has a bronze-green head and thorax, and white to light tan wing coverings often with dark lines. Tiger beetles are often the dominant invertebrate predators in habitats where they occur, using their long mandibles to capture small amphipods, flies, and other invertebrates along the water’s edge. Larvae are “sit and wait” predators that feed mainly on amphipods.

The primary threat to the northeastern beach tiger beetle is habitat disturbance and destruction from development, beach stabilization activities, and recreational beach uses including pedestrian and vehicle traffic, all of which affect the larvae.

Photos and video clips are available for download.

For more information about the tiger beetle, go to this factsheet.


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