Dune tiger beetle (Cicindela maritima)

Dune tiger beetle on sand

Top facts

  • Once considered a subspecies of Cincindela hybrida, the dune tiger beetle is now regarded as a species in its own right.
  • A predatory species, the dune tiger beetle feeds on insects and has powerful jaws.
  • Living on the coast throughout much of Europe, the dune tiger beetle inhabits dunes and sandy beaches.
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Dune tiger beetle fact file

Dune tiger beetle description

GenusCicindela (1)

The dune tiger beetle (Cicindela maritima) was once thought to be a subspecies of the very similar species Cincindela hybrida, but is now recognised as a species in its own right (2). Like most tiger beetles, the dune tiger beetle is predatory, and has large jaws. It is generally reddish-brown in colour with blotchy yellowish markings (4).

Length: 12-15 mm (2)

Dune tiger beetle biology

Adults breed during spring and summer, and the larvae occur later on in the year inside burrows in the sand. Either pupae or adults hibernate through the winter, and the adults emerge the following spring in order to breed, completing the annual life cycle (3). Adults feed on insects; they are fast runners and fly well, chasing their prey (3).


Dune tiger beetle range

This coastal species is currently found on both sides of the Bristol Channel, northwest Wales, Norfolk and Kent (3). Historical records are from Lincolnshire, Cornwall and Hampshire (3). It is widespread in Europe, where it is not tied to the coastline (3).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.

Dune tiger beetle habitat

As the common name suggests, this beetle inhabits dunes, as well as sandy beaches, where it can be found along the driftline and in the inter-tidal area (5).


Dune tiger beetle status

Classified as Nationally Scarce in Great Britain (3).


Dune tiger beetle threats

Coastal development, disturbance by recreational use of beach habitats by humans, and the erosion of sand dunes are factors that threaten the survival of this tiger beetle (3). Holiday and urban development is a particular threat (5).


Dune tiger beetle conservation

Many sites supporting populations of this scarce tiger beetle are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) or National Nature Reserves (NNRs); the species therefore benefits from a degree of protection in such areas (3). This beetle has been identified as a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP). The Species Action Plan produced as a result of this prioritisation aims to maintain the current range of the dune tiger beetle (3). Furthermore, English Nature has included it in its Species Recovery Programme.

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.

Find out more

For more on English Nature's Species Recovery Programme see:



Information authenticated by Adrian Fowles of the Countryside Council for Wales:



A winter survival strategy characteristic of some mammals in which an animal's metabolic rate slows down and a state of deep sleep is attained. Whilst hibernating, animals survive on stored reserves of fat that they have accumulated in summer. In insects, the correct term for hibernation is 'diapause', a temporary pause in development and growth. Any stage of the lifecycle (eggs, larvae, pupae or adults) may enter diapause, which is typically associated with winter.
Stage in an animal's lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
Stage in an insect's development when huge changes occur, which reorganise the larval form into the adult form. In butterflies the pupa is also called a chrysalis.
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.


  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (September 2002)
  2. Lindroth, C. H. (1974) Handbooks for the identification of British insects. Volume IV. Part 2: Coleoptera, Carabidae. The Royal Entomological Society of London, London.
  3. UK BAP (September 2002)
  4. Harde, K. W. (2000) A field guide in colour to beetles. Silverdale Books, Leicester.
  5. Hyman, P. S. and Parsons, M.S. (1992) A review of the scarce and threatened Coleoptera of Great Britain: Part 1. JNCC, Peterborough.

Image credit

Dune tiger beetle on sand  
Dune tiger beetle on sand

© Steve Trewhella / www.flpa-images.co.uk

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