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For information on Wisconsin's rare vertebrate animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist
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Jay Watson
Conservation Biologist

Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle (Cicindela patruela patruela)



Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle (Cicindela patruela patruela), a State Special Concern species, 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).



Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle

Photo © John Haarstad.

Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle. Only natural communities for which Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.

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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Thursday, December 22, 2022