Here’s an updated itinerary for the 7th Annual Fall Tiger Beetle Trip that fellow cicindelophile Chris Brown and I are in the midst of. We’ve spent the past two days visiting six localities in Nebraska and South Dakota. So far, we’ve found a total of 10 species – including every species we had hoped to see at this point in the trip. The list so far (in chronological order) is:
- Cicindela (s. str.) tranquebarica kirbyi – ho hum, we’ll see this in several places.
- Cicindela (s. str.) purpurea audubonii – über common Great Plains species, although the black form is always a treat to see.
- Cicindela (s. str.) pulchra – YEAH! Seen in good numbers at one of the new South Dakota localities discovered in 2008 by Matt Brust (our personal chaperone for the day). Marvelous field photographs.
- Cicindela (s. str.) fulgida – Only one seen, but Chris got a nice series of field photographs (I’ve seen good numbers of this species from my previous trips to this area in 2008 and in Oklahoma last year).
- Cicindela (s. str.) nebraskana – Another “A list” species for the trip, but we’ve only seen one so far.
- Cicindela (Cicindelidia) punctulata punctulata – also known as Cicindela ubiquita.
- Cicindela (s. str.) scutellaris scutellaris – even though this is a common Great Plains species in any sandy area, I never tire of its dazzling red elytra and blue/green head and pronotum.
- Cicindela (s. str.) lengi – The third species on our “A list” that we’ve seen, with some real nice field photographs from Monroe Canyon.
- Cicindela (s. str.) formosa generosa – another common Great Plains species.
- Cicindela (s. str.) denverensis – I didn’t expect to see this one on the trip (just a single individual at Monroe Canyon), but I’ll take it!
Tomorrow we’ll hit a Wyoming location where Cicindela (s. str.) decemnotata is known to hang out – a species I’ve not yet seen, either alive or preserved. Most sources regard this species as closely related to C. denverensis, but Matt thinks it is actually more closely related to C. fulgida due to similarity in form and shine but green instead of purple. Afterwards, in a major addition to our planned itinerary (hence the updated Google Map), we’ll go into northwestern Colorado to look for two very cool subspecies of the otherwise widespread species – C. formosa gibsoni and C. scutellaris yampae. If we’re lucky we’ll also see the delicate little sand lover, Cicindela (s. str.) limbata, but if we don’t see it there then we should see it the next day when we finish out the trip back in the Nebraska Sand Hills just east of Alliance. But before that, we’ll veer back up into Wyoming and look around in the high elevations east of Laramie in hopes of finding Cicindela (s. str.) longilabris laurentii. That one may be a stretch, but if we are successful then we have the potential to see a total of 15 species – that would be a trip high for me (literally and figuratively).
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2010