Can you see the large mandibles, a bit like pincers, near my mouth? I use these to dismember my prey!
Northern dune tiger beetle is rare, and thought to be one of the fastest beetles in the world. It is a great hunter and will eat small ants, spiders, moth larvae and flies that it hunts on top of the bare sand. They have long legs, which help them run quickly, but these beetles do also fly. They are very rare now in the UK – some of the few places they can be found is on the dunes at the Sefton coast and in Cumbria. For dune systems to support populations of northern dune tiger beetle, they need to have areas of free, moving sand without lots of vegetation. They sunbathe on the sand (when it’s not too windy) and dig holes up to 20cm deep into the face of the dunes to hide at night or when it’s cold. When the time comes to reproduce, northern dune tiger beetle also lay their larvae in burrows in the sand, where they’re protected over the winter months before emerging in the summer.
Northern dune tiger beetles need heat to hunt! It takes a lot of energy to catch food, so these beetles best like sand surface temperatures of around 28 degrees Celsius.
On the frontal dunes or open sandy dune spaces on the Sefton Coast and in Cumbria.
Removing overgrown areas of scrub with volunteers and creating mobile sand gives the northern dune tiger beetle the right habitats to hunt and hide.
Projects protecting Northern Dune Tiger Beetle
Our work on the Cumbrian Coast takes place across many different sites; Grune Point, Silloth Dunes, Drigg Dunes, Eskmeals, Haverigg, Roanhead, Sandscale Haws, North Walney including West of Airfield, and South Walney. The project is led in Cumbria by Natural England, working with Cumbria Wildlife Trust and National Trust.