Cicindela puritana 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Insecta Coleoptera Cicindelidae

Scientific Name: Cicindela puritana G. Horn, 1871
Common Name(s):
English Puritan Tiger Beetle

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ac(iv)+2ac(iv) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-12-12
Assessor(s): Kinsley, B.
Reviewer(s): Gerlach, J.

This species occurs in four well separated locations (metapopulations) each with one to several populations. It has a maximum extent of occurrence (EOO) and area of occupancy (AOO) of 100 km2 and 10 km2, respectively. Most populations at all locations are threatened by one or more factors including water level changes, encroachment by invasive or other vegetation, and development and human activities, in addition to population stochasticity.  Population size has fluctuated dramatically over the years at all sites and declined significantly at some of these in the past 15 years. 

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This species is found in the USA. It occurs in four disjunct locations in the United States: along the Chesapeake Bay in Calvert and Cecil-Kent Counties in Maryland and along the Connecticut River in Middlesex County, Connecticut and Hampshire County, Massachusetts. It has long been extinct from other Connecticut and Massachusetts sites.

Countries occurrence:
United States (Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:10
Number of Locations:4
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


The size of all populations based on visual index counts has fluctuated dramatically over the years.  The metapopulation in Calvert County includes six populations with total adult numbers ranging from estimates of  1101 to 9185 individuals from 1989 to 2013. The count in 2013 was 3663. The Kent-Cecil metapopulation includes seven populations with adult numbers ranging from 400 to 2755 from 1989 to 2013. The 2013 count was 1864.  The Connecticut metapopulations includes three populations with total adult numbers ranging from 350 to 1015 between 1991 and 2003. The 2003 count was 970.  The single small population in Massachusetts has ranged from 25 to 198 from 1997 to 2006. The 2006 count was 87. The Maryland populations experience mortality, possibly significant, from Methocha a wingless parasitic wasp which attacks second and third instar larvae. Competition with Cicindela repanda, a co-occurring tiger beetle at all sites may be impacting populations but has not been studied.

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:YesPopulation severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The habitat in Maryland is different from that in New England. In Maryland the species occurs along narrow sandy beaches of the Chesapeake Bay backed by tall cliffs. Adults forage along the narrow beaches and cliff bases for water edge arthropods and will scavenge dead organisms. They move to the cliffs usually to the upper strata where the preferred sandy oviposition substrate occurs. Larvae are site-and-wait burrow dwelling predators that feed on small arthropods which move near the burrow mouth. The larvae develop on the vertical cliff faces over a two year period. In Connecticut and Massachusetts the species occurs along sandy beaches or point bars of the Connecticut River.  Adults forage along the water edge and oviposit in sandy soils on the back beaches above the high water level. Larvae develop in the upper beaches over a two year period.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

All populations experience dramatic fluctuations in abundance resulting from natural and human related disturbances. In Maryland, a major threat is increased vegetation growth on the cliffs which results in reduction of the bare areas needed for adult ovipositon and larval development. A related threat at privately owned sites is construction of shoreline erosion control structures that results in cliff stabilization and vegetation growth.  Rising water levels in the Chesapeake and apparent increasing impacts from storms result in cliff erosion and breakdown. This benefits the species by reducing cliff vegetation and increasing recruitment and larval development habitat. In New England, water level fluctuations and invasive vegetation have significant impacts on some populations. 

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Extensive surveys initiated in the early 1990s have surveyed areas of potential habitat throughout the geographic range of the species and apparently identified all extant populations. Annual monitoring of adult population size has been conducted at all sties since the early 1990s. Additional research, including studies of habitat characteristics, impact of vegetation on larval habitat and development of population viability analysis have been conducted.  It is listed as a Threatened species by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:Yes
  Systematic monitoring scheme:Yes
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:No
  Percentage of population protected by PAs (0-100):0
  Area based regional management plan:No
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
7. Natural system modifications -> 7.3. Other ecosystem modifications
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Causing/Could cause fluctuations ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.1. Unspecified species
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Causing/Could cause fluctuations ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 

Bibliography [top]

Groombridge, B. (ed.). 1994. 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN. 1990. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN. 2014. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2014).

Knisley, C. B. and T. D. Schultz. 1997. The Biology of Tiger Beetles and a Guide to the Species of the South Atlantic States. Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville.

Pearson, D. L., C. B. Knisley, and C. J. Kazilek. 2006. A field guide to the tiger beetles of the United States and Canada: Identification, natural history and distribution of the Cicindelidae. Oxford University Press, New York.

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1994. Puritan Tiger Beetle. Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hadley, M.A.

Vogler, A. P., C. B. Knisley, S. B. Glueck, J. M. Hill, and R. DeSalle. 1993. Using molecular and ecological data to diagnose endangered populations of the puritan tiger beetle Cicindela puritana. Molecular Ecology 2: 375-383.

Citation: Kinsley, B. 2014. Cicindela puritana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T4855A21424238. . Downloaded on 24 April 2018.
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