Both today and yesterday I visited a sand dune that is unique in my area and home to rare plant and animal species including this very rare Ghost Tiger Beetle which is only known from this one site in my area and only a handful of others in Ontario. I first became aware of this sand dune a couple of years ago when a non-profit group formed to conserve and restore the dune after surrounding forest had filled much of it in and threatened its unique plant and animal species with local extinction. It was featured regularly in local news outlets and I kept meaning to visit to see it first hand, but since then it has slipped from my mind and it wasn’t until seeing recent photos of the Ghost Tiger Beetle that I remembered about it and made a point to finally get out there and see it all for myself.
In addition to the Ghost Tiger Beetle, there were a couple of the larger and also rare Big Sand Tiger Beetle (Cicindela formosa), which is another speciality species of this sand dune (second and third photos below), and I did see one individual of the Punctured Tiger Beetle (Cicindela punctulata), which is more widespread and can be found other sandy habitats in my area (fourth photo below).
Experts on site at the when I visited sand dune explained that the Ghost Tiger Beetle is perfectly adapted to life on the hot sand, which can exceed 70 degrees Celsius during the peak of summer, and they emerge specifically during the hottest weeks of the year to take advantage of reduced competition and predation from other species that can’t tolerate high temperatures.
A general landscape shot of the sand dune is shown in the last photo below.