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Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle (Cicindela patruela patruela)

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A Tiger Beetle ( Cicindela patruela patruela ), a State Special Concern beetle, has been found in Semi open pine/oak barrens, jack and red pine stands with open areas on sandy soil, sandy firelanes or trails. Understory usually dominated by Vaccinium, bracken fern, and with a ground cover of moss patches. Optimal identification period is in the spring/fall with diminished numbers in mid summer.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle (Cicindela patruela patruela). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Cicindela patruela patruela in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusSC/N
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankG3T3
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

Identification: Usually green to greenish-brown tiger beetle. Ventral surface iridescent brassy. Two humeral and apical spots present on the elytra and the middle band is long, oblique and constricted between the marginal and distal ends. This subspecies is separated from subspecies huberi by the predominance in a population of bright green rather than muddy green to brown or even black individuals. Length: 12-14mm.

Similar Species: The species is duller green than C. sexguttata and the middle band is complete with humeral spots which are lacking in C. sexguttata.

Habitat: Dry, sandy soils within mixed jackpine-oak forest and pine barrens, usually along forest roads and sand quarries.

Associated Species: C. sexguttata, C. scutellaris, C. formosa, C. punctata.

State Distribution: Primarily this subspecies inhabits glaciated northern and eastern Wisconsin. Scattered locations in Douglas, St. Croix, Shawano, Oconto Cos. Populations along the Wisconsin River in the southwestern counties are green and consider to be the nominate subspecies.

Global Distribution: Highly localized in the northern Midwest and eastern U.S. Few sites south of the Appalachian Highlands.

Rationale for Species Listing and Threats: Loss of sandy habitats.

Phenology: Late May-June. Adults present in late summer-fall as well.

Life and Natural History: Two-year life cycle with adults active in the spring and new adults found for a few weeks in the fall in some parts of the range. Sometimes, as appears to be the case in Wisconsin (Lawton, 1970), the adults stay underground in the fall and emerge for the first time in spring (Knisely and Schultz, 1997). Preferred oviposition sites seem to bebetween plants in shaded areas where the sand is covered with mosses and lichens. Larvae overwinter as second or third instars and continue through the next summer as third instars before pupating in late summer.

Survey Guidelines: Collect by hand or aerial net on forest roads. Highest adult activity in mid to late afternoon (Knisley, et al, 1990).


No additional photos are available for Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle at this time. Please consider donating a photo to the Natural Heritage Conservation program.

Last revised: Tuesday, February 19, 2019