Artificial bare patches increase habitat for the endangered Ohlone tiger beetle (Cicindela ohlone)
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The endangered Ohlone tiger beetle (Cicindela ohlone) depends on bare ground areas in California coastal grasslands to encounter mates, oviposit, and find prey. We tested habitat creation as a potential management strategy to increase the availability of oviposition sites for C. ohlone. We compared three different bare ground treatments by scraping off surface vegetation, ripping, and tamping the plots. We also tested whether bare ground creation expands C. ohlone range within a habitat patch by scraping plots at increasing distances from the core habitat and monitoring C. ohlone colonization. C. ohlone oviposited significantly more in artificial bare ground plots compared to controls both one and 2 years after the scrapes were created. Distance from the core habitat did not affect colonization nor did decompaction of scraped plots. Percent bare ground significantly predicted incidence of colonization. For the conservation of the endangered Ohlone tiger beetle, we recommend continued creation of scraped plots every 2 years in order to maintain bare ground and to ensure maximum usage by female C. ohlone as oviposition sites.
KeywordsCicindela Habitat creation Disturbance Endangered species management
We thank Dr. Richard A. Arnold of Entomological Consulting Services, Ltd. and the University of California Santa Cruz, including Dean Raven and Frank Locatelli for help with permits and logistics. We are also grateful for access to study sites and other assistance from the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, Tim Hyland of Wilder Ranch State Park, and Leslie Keedy of City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation. Laura Revilla, Sharifa Crandall, Leighton Reid, Jorge Torres, Kim Brewitt, and Peter Brewitt provided field assistance. Funding for this research was provided by the Environmental Studies Department at University of California Santa Cruz, The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation, and NSF GK-12 DGE-0947923 (to G. Gilbert, I. Parker, and D. Ash). This work was conducted under USFWS permit #TE-797233-5.2. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments that improved the manuscript.
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