Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cicindela nebraskana loves northern Utah

          One Tiger Beetle that you don't see very often is Cicindela nebraskana. This species is and has been considered rare for some time now. Sioux County in north west Nebraska is where the type locality is, and you probably wont find this species anywhere else in the state that is too far from this spot. According to the distribution listed for this species in "A Field Guide to the Tiger Beetles of the United Sates and Canada," -David L. Pearson, C. Barry Knisley & Charles J. Kazilek, it is found in the north west states and across the bottom's of the southern Canadian territories. It's distribution hardly cuts across the corner of Nebraska.

Northern Utah happens to be a gold mine for this "rare" species. At BYU's collection of Arthropods in Provo (Utah Co.), I recall seeing two or three large unit trays filled with this species, with well over an estimated 120 specimens. To put this significance in perspective, there are only eight (give or take one) drawers of Tigers in this collection. There were more specimens of C. nebraskana than almost every other Tiger species! At USU's insect collection in Cache County, I found this species in great abundance as well. This being a solitary Tiger, transfered over to unique locality lables for most specimens.

Cicindela nebraskana Casey

Last year during late August, I set up pitfall traps along Squaw Peak Road which runs behind the eastern slopes of Mount Cascade in Utah County. I had no clue as to what might fall in, but this little collecting strategy was extremely productive at this particular grassy field. It reared over a dozen Carabid species and most of which, in great numbers. C. nebraskana was not one of them, but I was still over joyed with my humble four specimens.

Habitat Shot courtesy of Sam Wells

On this afternoon collecting spurt attended Sam Wells, his son Michael Wells, Shawn Clark (Manager of BYU's Arthropod collection), Lewis (an employee at the collection) and of course, myself. My original habitat shots of the beautiful landscape were lost when my last computer succumbed to old age. Sam was gracious enough to lend me one of his.

Left to Right:
Jon, Michael, Sam, Lewis, Shawn

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