The Shadow on the Sand


The Shadow on the Sand
By: Ashley Fink and Liz Stahl

Blink and you might miss the rare ghost tiger beetle (Ellipsoptera lepida) scurrying along on the sand in Oak Openings Preserve. Cryptic coloration and small size make these very well camouflaged beetles difficult to find. With the glare of the July sun, it is often easier to see the ghostly shadow they cast before actually spotting the individual.

The presence of ghost tiger beetles in the Oak Openings Region is extremely exciting because they are globally listed as a “vulnerable” species, meaning they are, unfortunately, at moderate risk of extirpation in areas due to few occurrences and population declines.  Our northwest Ohio populations have relied on these rare sand barren communities for eons, and the continued protection of these sites is essential for the survival of future generations.      

Sand disturbance from digging, ATV’s, and excessive foot traffic in these sensitive areas can quickly and negatively affect our local populations. Please obey all park signage and rules at barren and dune sites, walk lightly, and enjoy looking for these amazing “shadows on the sand”.

Did you know? The ghost tiger beetle is found in only four counties in Ohio.

Can you spot the Ghost Tiger Beetle in the picture below?

Shadow in the Sands 1400x700.jpg

Answer: Upper center of photo above the large twig.

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