Miami Tiger Beetle
Status, Conservation, and Recovery of the Miami Tiger Beetle and its Pine Rockland Habitat
The federally-endangered Miami tiger beetle (Cicindelidia floridana; MTB) is poorly understood with respect to its distribution, seasonal abundance, habitat use, and behavior. This project is summarizing/publishing observations from previous FWC surveys (2015-2019) to better inform future conservation efforts, along with continuing survey effort on Miami-Dade County pine rockland preserves to further assess MTB presence/absence and improve our knowledge of the habitat requirements and biology. Known, occupied sites with MTB are being systematically surveyed to collect information on abundance, habitat use, and behavior. This information is being used to refine MTB phenology of annual/seasonal flight activity, number of generations per year, year-to-year trends, and responses to weather. In addition, the habitat management needs for MTB will be determined, through an assessment of its response to fire (or other management activities, e.g., manual/mechanical treatments, exotic/invasive plant removal, natural succession) based on opportunistic observation following these treatment events, and indirectly based on past management histories of the area. A matrix of habitat management history and timeline for all known MTB sites is being created, followed by the development of habitat management recommendations for future MTB conservation.
Pine rocklands are globally imperiled and one of the rarest habitats in Florida. The present day distribution of this habitat type consists of relict islands on portions of the Miami Rock Ridge, Everglades National Park, and Lower Florida Keys. Owing to a unique combination of geology, climate, and other historical processes, these habitats host a diverse community of rare plants and animals, many of which are endemic (i.e., pine rockland obligates). Due to ongoing habitat loss, fragmentation, and fire suppression, much of South Florida’s pine rockland habitat is becoming unsuitable for several of its characteristic species, including the Miami tiger beetle. FWC is working with multiple partners to restore and maintain pine rockland habitat through a combination of prescribed fire, manual/mechanical thinning of palms and pines, and exotic-invasive vegetation treatments.