Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle Facts
- Most notably, the Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle inhabits an extremely limited range. It also occurs only in a portion of the geologic feature known as the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, in southern Utah, in the United States.
- Due to the combination of such limited range and small numbers, this insect now lists as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Estimates also place its total current population at less than 2,000 individuals.
- It spends the entirety of its life in one tiny area, typically on the same individual sand dune. The majority of individuals venture less than 1,000 ft (300 m) from the spot where they hatched from their eggs.
Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle Description
Much as with many insects, the Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle displays sexual dimorphism, with females typically larger in size than males.
However, both genders remain tiny, with an overall average body length measuring slightly less than 0.5 in (12 mm).
Though small, the coloring remains rather striking. Also, the body is generally brown or bronze. Furthermore, the upper thorax possesses a metallic sheen. While the wing cases are usually concealed, they are a brilliant white.
The eyes develop rather large in comparison to other beetles of their size. In addition, the legs grow relatively long, to keep the body away from the hot sand.
Its most noteworthy feature, however, is the presence of numerous bright white hairs lining much of the body and legs.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Coleoptera
- Family: Carabidae
- Genus: Cicindela
- Species: C. albissima
Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Coral Pink Sand Dune Beetle evolved as endemic to Utah, in the United States. The species only inhabits the Coral Pink Sand Dunes geologic feature, hence the name.
The color of the sand dunes is unique and is the reason the invertebrate has evolved its own distinctive coloring.
Mating occurs in the spring, and the larvae reach adulthood the following spring.
The creature is carnivorous, and 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 have been habitat loss due to climate change and the use of recreational vehicles such as buggies on the dunes.
Fortunately, its habitat is part of the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. The use of buggies in the region they inhabit has now been banned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.