Scientific Name: Cicindela ohlone
Tiger beetles are day-active insects that prey on small arthropods; because many tiger beetles feed on insect species that are injurious to man and crops, they are regarded as beneficial. Adult tiger beetles are medium-sized and elongated, characterized by brilliant metallic green, blue, red, and yellow coloration highlighted by stripes and spots. Adults are ferocious, swift, and agile predators that seize small prey with powerful sickle-shaped jaws. The two principal characteristics which distinguish the Ohlone tiger beetle from other tiger beetles are its early seasonal activity (from late January to early April) and its disjunct distribution.
Habitat: The Ohlone Tiger Beetle is endemic to Santa Cruz County where it is known only from coastal terraces supporting remnant patches of native grassland, in particular purple needlegrass and California oat grass. The global range of the Ohlone Tiger Beetle is believed to be less than 40 square miles. It is limited to only five populations in the middle of Santa Cruz County; four are seriously threatened by habitat fragmentation, degradation, and destruction due to proposed developments of residential housing, ballfields, parks, parking lots, and an entrance road. This species is considered to be newly-discovered; specimens were first collected northwest of the City of Santa Cruz, California, in 1987, and were first described in 1993. Threats: The species' restricted range and small population size increase its vulnerability to naturally occurring events such as erosion, disease, or predation. In addition, habitat sites are threatened by the invasion of non-native vegetation.