Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle
This chapter provides a review of progress toward protection and recovery of Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle in Ontario from 2007 to 2015.
Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle (Cicindela patruela) is a relatively small ground beetle that grows 12 to 14 millimetres in length. Adults are metallic green with distinct cream-coloured markings on each wing cover. The species has large eyes, large sickle-shaped mandibles and long legs.
In Ontario, one population of Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle exists in Pinery Provincial Park on the south shore of Lake Huron. Another population at Constance Bay in the Ottawa River valley is now considered extirpated (COSEWIC 2009). The Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle requires open areas with sandy soils within savanna and oak barrens, pine or pine-oak forests, or other deciduous tree forests.
Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle faces several threats to its survival and recovery. The most significant threats are human activities that alter the species’ habitat. These include: changing the surface material of trails (e.g., paving, wood chips, gravel); soil compaction caused by heavy pedestrian use; disturbance caused by off-road vehicles or bicycles; and suppression of natural forest fires. Pesticide use and invasive plant species (e.g., knapweed) that tend to fill in open areas can also threaten the habitat of the Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle.
The survival and recovery of Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle is influenced by other factors as well. The species has very specific habitat requirements and limited dispersal ability, so it is less able to colonize new areas. Little is known about why the species has such a limited distribution. Filling this knowledge gap is an identified focus area for the species.
Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle is listed as endangered at both the provincial (Species at Risk in Ontario List) and federal (Schedule 1 under the Species at Risk Act) levels. Globally, it is considered to be vulnerable.
The Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO) assessed Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle as endangered. Following this assessment, it was added to the Species at Risk in Ontario List in 2010. In future assessments, COSSARO may consider information gained through protection and recovery actions regarding the species’ threats and trends in population and distribution.
Species and habitat protection
Protecting Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle and its habitat are key components in the implementation of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA or “the Act”), and continue to be government-led actions, as identified in the species’ government response statement. As an endangered species, Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle has been protected from being killed, harmed, harassed, captured or taken under the ESA since it was listed in 2010. In addition, the species’ habitat has been protected from being damaged or destroyed since 2010. Habitat protection was initially based on the general habitat definition in the ESA. The habitat of Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle is currently protected through a habitat regulation that came into force in 2012. The government developed the habitat regulation (Ontario Regulation 242/08, section 28.0.1) for Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle within the timeframe required by the ESA. The habitat regulation provides clarity to the public and others on what areas are protected as Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle habitat. This area includes habitat that is required by this species to carry out its life processes (e.g., foraging, hibernation and reproduction) within its range in Ontario. It was developed based on information regarding the habitat needs of the species and social and economic factors, collected from a variety of sources including comments received through public consultation.
Any person who negatively impacts Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle or its habitat without prior authorization may be prosecuted under the ESA.
Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle has been protected from being killed, harmed, harassed, captured or taken since 2010.
In addition, the habitat of Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle has been protected from being damaged or destroyed since 2010.
Habitat protection was initially based on the general habitat definition in the ESA. The habitat of Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle is now protected through a habitat regulation that came into force in 2012.
A recovery strategy for Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle was published on February 18, 2011, which was in advance of the date required by the ESA. Recovery strategies are advice to government and represent the best available scientific knowledge. The strategy identifies Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle habitat needs and the threats that it faces, while recommending objectives and approaches for protecting and recovering the species. The recovery strategy also includes recommendations on the areas of habitat to be considered in the development of a habitat regulation.
Government response statement
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (“the Ministry”) published the government response statement (GRS) for Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle on November 18, 2011, which was within the timeframe required by the GRS is government policy that contains the Government of Ontario’s goal for the recovery of Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle.
Recovery GoalThe government’s goal for the recovery of the Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle is to ensure its long-term survival in Ontario.
To help achieve this goal, the government leads and supports recovery actions identified in the GRS. Common actions for the government to lead as it works toward achieving a species’ recovery goal are provided in section 2.5 of the Species at Risk Program Status (2008–2015). One specific action for the government to lead to help protect and recover Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle is:
- Provide information and training to Pinery Provincial Park staff on the Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle and the protection of its habitat in the Park.
The GRS for Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle also lists seven actions the Ministry supports others to undertake for the species. These government-supported actions fall under the objectives identified in the GRS, which are:
- Develop, implement and evaluate measures to manage Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle habitat;
- Address knowledge gaps related to Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle biology, habitat needs and threats to inform future protection and recovery efforts; and
- Determine the Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle distribution, abundance and population trends in Ontario.
through the general habitat definition under the ESA in 2010 and then a habitat regulation in 2012
Supporting our partners
Supporting partners through the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund as well as through permits and their associated conditions is an important government-led action identified in the GRS for the species. To date, no stewardship projects have been funded and no permits or registrations have been issued for the species as the species is very rare and known to occur only within Pinery Provincial Park.
Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle at Pinery Provincial Park
Areas of the globally-rare oak savanna ecosystem that support many species at risk, including Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle, occur within Pinery Provincial Park. Natural Heritage Education and Resource Management staff working in the park receive training and direction on the natural and cultural features of the park, including species’ ecology and rarity. Through outreach program delivery, staff provide visitors with an understanding and appreciation of the natural and cultural environments of the park including the Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle.
Specific trail management prescriptions are in place to maintain the heavily used trails in sensitive or susceptible areas where Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle has been observed. For example, single-pass mowing is done late in the growing season to minimize disturbance, which is an identified threat for this species. Overall, these efforts align with the government-led action to provide information and training to staff and to protect known habitat for Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle in the park.
The Friends of the Pinery Park help to protect, preserve and enhance the natural and historic heritage features of Pinery Provincial Park. Friends of the Pinery Park maintain a website about the park, including information on habitat types and species living in the Pinery (Friends of Pinery Park 2016). A checklist of some of the plant and animal sightings, including rare insects such as the Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle helps in delivering interpretative information and provides visitors to the website and park an opportunity to learn more about where and when the species has been documented.
Ontario’s Invasive Species Act
The GRS for Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle indicates that invasive species pose a threat to the survival and recovery of the species in Ontario. The provincial Invasive Species Act, 2015 came into force on November 3, 2016 and provides an enabling framework to support the prevention, detection and control of invasive species in Ontario. This framework may support actions to reduce the threats of invasive species on native and at-risk species, including Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle.
Occurrences of Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle in Ontario
Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC)
Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle is considered extremely rare in Canada. Since 1990, it has only been found in Pinery Provincial Park near Grand Bend on Lake Huron. Previously it had been documented at Constance Bay along the Ottawa River; it was last observed there in 1960, and the population
Studying the Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle can be challenging due to its very specific habitat requirements, the potential need for an entomologist or other qualified individual to facilitate searches, and the difficulty in identification at the larval stage. A recently published field guide to tiger beetles of the United States and Canada by Pearson et al. (2015) may assist those interested in identification of the Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle.
Since 2008, the Ministry has received approximately 13 records of the species. These records are based on observations between 1960 and 2015 and come from a variety of sources. Records submitted have helped to redefine where the species is known and has been known to occur and have provided additional information on the species’ habitat and threats. In 2015, the Natural Heritage Information Centre received records of six adults that were documented in Pinery Provincial Park, reconfirming the continuing persistence of the population. Encouraging the submission of observations of Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle to the Ministry is included in the GRS as a government-led action.
Everyone is encouraged, or may be required by an authorization or approval, to submit observations of Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle, as well as every other species at risk, to the Ministry’s Natural Heritage Information Centre for incorporation into the provincial record of observations.
13 observations of the species were submitted to the NHIC since 2008
Summary of progress toward meeting the recovery goal
Summary of progress
Progress has been made toward all government-led actions and a single government-supported action outlined in the GRS for Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle. The Government of Ontario has directly undertaken actions to:
- Protect the species and its habitat through the ESA;
- Support partners to undertake activities to protect and recover the species;
- Provide information and training to Pinery Provincial Park Staff on this species and the protection of its habitat in the Park;
- Encourage submission of Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle data to the Natural Heritage Information Centre;
- Establish and communicate annual priority actions for support;
- Educate other agencies and planning authorities on the requirement to consider the protection of the species and its habitat; and
- Undertake communications and outreach to increase public awareness of species at risk in Ontario.
Limited progress has been made toward the government-supported recovery objectives for this rare and cryptic species. In light of this, the government has taken steps toward implementing the following high priority government-supported action:
- Identify and implement approaches to manage non-natural disturbances in Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle Habitat (Action No. 1; High Priority).
The action has been supported through Pinery Provincial Park’s trail management prescriptions to manage heavily used trails (e.g., single pass mowing late in the growing season).
The government’s recovery goal for Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle is to ensure its long-term survival in Ontario. Efforts made by Pinery Provincial Park to manage heavily used trails near the species’ habitat helped to make progress toward this goal. Recent (2015) records from the Natural Heritage Information Centre confirm that Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle continues to persist in Ontario. However, further work is required to implement the GRS actions in order to help meet the recovery goal for the species.
As stated in the GRS, the review of progress toward protecting and recovering Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle can be used to help identify whether adjustments are needed to achieve the protection and recovery of the species. Based on progress to-date, the overall direction provided in the GRS for Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle should continue to guide protection and recovery actions for the species, particularly actions identified in the GRS as high priority.
Moving forward, protecting and recovering Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle will continue to be a shared responsibility that will require the involvement of many individuals, organizations and communities. Financial support for the implementation of actions may be available through the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund and Species at Risk Research Fund for Ontario. The Ministry can also advise if any authorizations under the ESA or other legislation may be required to undertake a project. By working together, progress can continue to be made toward protecting and recovering Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle in Ontario.
Summary of progress toward the protection and recovery of Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle (2007 to 2015)
- Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle is classified as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA). The species has been protected from being killed, harmed, harassed, captured or taken under the ESA since 2010. Its habitat has been protected from damage or destruction since 2010, and in 2012 the government developed a habitat regulation for the species.
Species-specific documents and guidance published by the government:
- Recovery Strategy for Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle (2011)
- Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle: Ontario Government Response Statement (2011)
- Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle Habitat Regulation (Ontario Regulation 242/08; 2012)
Occurrences and distribution:
- Two populations of the Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle have been documented: at Pinery Provincial Park (extant) and Constance Bay along the Ottawa River (extirpated). Since 2010, no change in the status of the populations occurred, although ongoing persistence of the population in Pinery Provincial Park was re-confirmed in 2015.
- Categorizing and Protecting Habitat under the Endangered Species Act
- Habitat Regulation Summary for Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle
- Natural Heritage Information Centre
- Ontario’s Endangered Species Act
- Ontario’s Endangered Species Act Regulation 242/08
- Ontario Recovery Strategy and Government Response Statement for Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle
- Policy Guidance on Harm and Harass under the Endangered Species Act
- Species at Risk in Ontario List
- Species at Risk Stewardship Fund
COSEWIC. 2009. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle Cicindela patruela in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. vii + 36 pp.
Pearson, D.L., C.B. Knisley, D.P. Duran, and C.J. Kazilek. 2015. A Field Guide to the Tiger Beetles of the United States and Canada: Identification, Natural History, and Distribution of the Cicindelidae. Second edition. Oxford University Press: Toronto, Ontario. 251 pp.
- footnote Back to paragraph A population is defined as an area of land and/or water on/in which an element (i.e., Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle) is or was present. They are comprised of one or more observations and the area has a practical conservation value as it is important to the conservation of the species. An element occurrence in the technical term used to describe this.