Robber Flies vs Tiger Beetle in Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Asked January 29, 2019, 8:24 PM EST

Has there ever been an attempt to control predators (such as Robber Flies) of the Puritan Tiger Beetle or Beach Tiger beetle in their natural habitat in order to allow their numbers to increase? Or, has there ever been an attempt to introduce additional prey for the larvae form of natural predators of the Puritan Tiger Beetle or the Beach Tiger beetle in their natural habitat in order to increase the chances that more beetle larvae will be left to reach maturity in their burrows?

Calvert County Maryland entomology

1 Response

As far as I know no one has tried this (controlling predators). On the surface it does not seem like a very wise strategy, even if were likely to be successful in helping tiger beetle populations, which is doubtful in my estimation. Predators are beneficial insects so it makes little sense to harm them, even in an effort to aid another beneficial species. Most predators are generalists and will attack whatever prey is available. If one thing is lacking they will switch to something else. Direct intervention to change predator-prey dynamics is generally not an effective or wise approach. The best way to help any species is to focus on preserving natural habitat. In the case of the Puritan tiger beetle there are very specific habitat requirements. The larvae occupy only naturally eroding cliffs, where they live in deep burrows after digging in sandy deposits on non vegetated portions of the bluff face or at the base of the cliffs.
https://www.fws.gov/chesapeakebay/endsppweb/beetle/tigerbeetle.html