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Scholars Day: April 15, 2009

Cobblestone Tiger Beetle (Cicindela marginipennis Dejean) Dispersal and Occupancy on the Cobble Bars Along the Genesee River, New York

Tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) are a distinct group within the order Coleoptera. Approximately 2300 species of tiger beetles have been identified worldwide; they are similar in shape, proportion and behavior, differing mostly in size and coloration. Tiger beetles are often used as bioindicators, models for understanding, managing and conserving biodiversity and ecosystems. Eight species of tiger beetles, including the cobblestone tiger beetle (Cicindela marginipennis Dejean), have been identified as “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” in New York State’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy because these species are scarce and found only in small localized areas, and threats to their populations have been identified. The focal species for my study, the cobblestone tiger beetle, occur along the Genesee River in western New York. Objectives of my two-year study are to: 1) identify environmental variables associated with suitable habitat; 2) understand the dispersal dynamics of the adult cobblestone tiger beetles; and 3) model patch occupancy by these beetles. Field methods involve tracking the dispersal of marked and recaptured cobblestone tiger beetles, and repeating surveys of suitable habitat along the upper Genesee River. During the first season, we marked 106 beetles on six cobble bars and searched 24 cobble bars from Rushford Reservoir north into Letchworth State Park for the presences of cobblestone tiger beetles. These data sets are being used to model dispersal, habitat selection and patch occupancy patterns, which will provide a baseline for future studies of the cobblestone tiger beetle in western New York.

Presenter: Rhonda Hudgins (Graduate Student)
Topic: Environmental Science
Location: 219 Hartwell
Time: 1:45 pm (Session III)