New York Natural Heritage Program
Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle
Cicindela patruela patruela Dejean, 1825
Insects

Identifying Characteristics [-]
Like other tiger beetles in the northeast, the northern barrens tiger beetle is a small insect approximately 0.5 inches (12-14 mm) in length with long sickle-shaped mouthparts, long thin antennae with 11 segments, a long body form with head and eyes wider than the middle portion (thorax) of the body, long thin legs for running, and a pattern of white markings (maculations) on wing covers (elytra) located on top of the main portion of the body (abdomen). Like only a few northeastern species, the elytra of the northern barrens tiger beetle are metallic green; the maculations show as two spots and one middle band on each of the two elytra. As with other tiger beetles, the larvae live in burrows in the ground and are white and grublike in appearance. (Pearson et al. 2006, Leonard and Bell 1999)

Characters Most Useful for Identification [-]
The metallic green elytra and complete middle maculation are the most diagnostic characters for identifying the northern barrens tiger beetle (Pearson et al. 2006, Leonard and Bell 1999, Knisley and Schultz 1997).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
All tiger beetles are best identified as adults. Far fewer good diagnostic characters are available for identifying larvae, many species lack formal or complete larval descriptions, and there is no comprehensive key for those larvae that have been described (Pearson et al. 2006).

Behavior [-]
Most adult tiger beetles are diurnal animals, spending the warmer parts of the day running along the surface of the ground hunting, eating, and mating. They pursue prey by running in short, fast spurts interspersed with brief stops. Northern barrens tiger beetles appear to be especially wary and will fly short distances into the more heavily vegetated portions of their habitat when they are flushed. Like most tiger beetles, they are most active on warm, sunny days and will retreat to burrows or hiding places at sunset or when skies become overcast.

Diet [-]
Tiger beetles are predatory on other insects. Little is known about specific diet items of the northern barrens tiger beetle.
Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
This is a spring-fall tiger beetle, with adults active in late May and June, and again in late August and September, although fall activity periods are reported to be reduced or absent in some populations (Pearson et al. 2006, Knisley and Schultz 1997, Leonard and Bell 1999). At the one known occurrence in New York, surveys have detected the species in late May, June, early July, August, and September. The larvae are present in burrows throughout the year, and the species has a two-year life cycle (Pearson et al. 2006, Knisley and Schultz 1997, Leonard and Bell 1999).
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Reproducing Larvae present and active
The time of year you would expect to find Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle reproducing (blue shading) and larvae present and active (orange shading) in New York.
Similar Species
  • Six-spotted tiger beetle (Cicindela sexguttata)
    The six-spotted tiger beetle has six small white dots as opposed to the more complete band-like maculations of the northern barrens tiger beetle.
  • Smooth Tiger Beetle (Cicindela scutellaris rugifrons)
    In the smooth tiger beetle, there is a triangle-shaped marginal band and no middle band (Leonard and Bell 1999).
  • Cow Path Tiger Beetle (Cicindela purpurea)
    Cow path tiger beetles are typically red-purple-bronze with some green and blue on the margins. The frons ("eyebrow" region) is hairy in cow path tiger beetles (Leonard and Bell 1999).
  • Clay Bank Tiger Beetle (Cicindela limbalis)
    Clay bank tiger beetles are typically red-purple-bronze with some green and blue on the margins. The frons ("eyebrow" region) is hairy in clay bank tiger beetles (Leonard and Bell 1999).