Last August (2011), I posted about the endangered Puritan Tiger Beetle. Another endangered tiger beetle species, the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle, Cicindela nevadica lincolniana, is limited to a few wetlands near Lincoln, Nebraska. Damage to these limited areas could cause this beetle to go extinct. In 2005, the known population was only 153 individuals.
Tiger Beetles are a popular group for insect collectors because of the bright colors of many of the adults. More is known of the biology, populations and locations of Tiger Beetle species than for species of lesser interest, due to the interest of hobbyists. The Salt Creek Tiger Beetle, like other Tiger Beetles constructs larval burrows and lies in wait for passing prey. When prey is within striking distance, a tiger beetle larva grasps the prey with powerful mandibles and drags it into its burrow.
Protecting endangered species requires habitat protection. Habitats are often threatened by anthropogenic activities, many due to carelessness. As recently reported in the Lincoln Journal Star a Lancaster County Employee dumped dirt on the wetlands in violation of the Endangered Species and Clean Water Acts. The dumping was discovered by the county, the dirt quickly removed and the incident reported.
By self reporting and settling with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the County avoided some fines and other penalties. In return, the FWS got the County to make some changes to help protect the area. A key change was closing and gating a road that overlooks the area and provided access to destructive “mudders, drinkers and shooters” and illegal dumping. Careless behavior can result in significant habitat destruction. Denying convenient access to the area can reduce some of the worst offenses.