Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle Facts
- Most notably, the truly amazing Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle inhabits an extremely limited range. The fascinating species also occurs only in a portion of one specific geologic feature. That remains one known as the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, in southern Utah, in the United States.
- Furthermore, due to the combination of such limited range and small numbers, this insect now lists as Critically Endangered with the IUCN. In addition, estimates currently place the total current population of this spectacular invertebrate at fewer than 2,000 individuals.
- Finally, it also spends the entirety of its life in one tiny area, moving very little. Typically this location consists of the same individual sand dune. Further, the majority of individuals actually venture less than 1,000 ft (300 m) from the spot where they hatched from their eggs.
Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle Physical Description
Firstly, much as with many insects, the Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle displays the principle of sexual dimorphism. In its case, like many insects, females typically attain a larger size than males. However, both genders remain tiny. That’s because an overall average body length measures slightly less than 0.5 in (12 mm).
Further, although small, the coloring of the magnificent creature remains rather striking. Also, the body generally appears as either brown or bronze in color. Furthermore, the upper thorax possesses a metallic sheen, making for a truly striking appearance.
While the wing cases usually remain concealed, these appear as a brilliant white. Also, the eyes develop rather large in comparison to other beetles of its size. In addition, the legs grow relatively long, to keep the body away from the hot sand.
But, its most noteworthy feature, however, remains the presence of numerous bright white hairs. These fascinating features line much of the body and legs. Researchers have theories as to the reason for this trait, but have reached no definitive conclusion.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Coleoptera
- Family: Carabidae
- Genus: Cicindela
- Species: C. albissima
Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
First of all, the Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle evolved as endemic to Utah, in the United States, in North America. Even more specifically, the species only inhabits the Coral Pink Sand Dunes geologic feature. This, quite understandably, serves as the source of the common name.
The color of the sand dunes it evolved as native to remains quite unique. It also forms the reason the invertebrate evolved its own distinctive coloring. With its limited numbers and extraordinarily restricted habitat, survival of every individual is of paramount importance to the species.
In addition, mating occurs in the spring, and the larvae reach adulthood the following spring. The remarkable small creature also evolved as entirely carnivorous. Mature adults primarily prey upon flies and other small arthropods they can catch on the dunes.
Larvae remain in small burrows and feed on any small arthropod that wanders by. The primary threats to its existence include habitat loss due to climate change. But, the use of recreational vehicles such as buggies on the dunes also poses a sever threat.
Fortunately, its habitat lies within part of the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. The use of buggies in the region the fabulous species inhabits has now been banned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But, the impact of this on its numbers remains undetermined at this time.