The two key objectives of the recovery plan for the Federally threatened tiger beetle Cicindela dorsalis dorsalis Say are to protect populations within the Chesapeake Bay and to establish by reintroductions new populations in the U.S. northeast (New Jersey to Massachusetts). This article reports on the development and implementation of translocation work to establish a population of C. d. dorsalis at Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook, NJ, by using larvae from Chesapeake Bay populations. Previous experimental translocation trials in Virginia by using adults were unsuccessful because the adults dispersed from the translocation sites within 1–2 wk. Experimental translocations were conducted to test methods with larvae from several Virginia sites to Sandy Hook in September 1994 and 1995. The translocated larvae readily dug burrows, many survived the winter, and some emerged as adults the following summer. Additional translocations of >475 larvae each year were conducted in early May 1997, 1999, and 2000. Peak numbers of emerging adults counted each year in July increased from 178 in 1997 to 749 in 2001. Adults exhibited normal behaviors in the field (foraging, thermoregulation, and mating) and recruited larvae each year. A population seemed to be successfully established, but adult numbers declined sharply after the 2001 peak to 142 in 2002, 43 in 2003, and six in 2004. We have little evidence for the cause of this sharp decline in adult numbers, but it may have resulted from predation by gulls, dispersal triggered by the high gull densities where beetles occurred, or perhaps from coastal storm impacts causing a progressive decline in survival and recruitment of the beetle population. The initial success of this translocation suggests that efforts using these methods should be continued, but closer monitoring at the translocation site is needed to determine the fate of the population. These methods also may be applicable to the recovery of other threatened or endangered tiger beetles.
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Vol. 98 • No. 4