Beetles are the most diverse group of organisms in the world. In fact, approximately one of every four species of plant, animal, bacterium, or fungus that has been described is a type of beetle. As might be expected in such a large group, beetles are quite diverse in color, shape, and ecological role.
Thus far, most of the Xerces Society’s conservation work on beetles has focused on tiger beetles. Tiger beetles are speedy, often colorful, and voracious predators. Many live in the sandy soils of stream banks and are highly susceptible to changes in their environment. These insects can be excellent indicators of the overall health of an ecosystem, as they may be one of the first animals to decline with habitat changes. According to NatureServe, tiger beetles are one of the most endangered groups of insects – second only to stoneflies – approximately 19% of all tiger beetles are either vulnerable to extinction, imperiled, or extinct.