Entomology, Department of


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctorate of Philosophy, Major: Entomology, Under the Supervision of Professor Leon G. Higley. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2010
Copyright 2010 Tierney R. Brosius


As with many organisms across the globe, Cicindela nevadica lincolniana is threatened with extinction. Understanding ecological factors that contribute to extinction vulnerability and what methods aid in the recovery of those species is essential in developing successful conservation programs. Here we examine behavioral mechanisms for niche partitioning along with improving techniques for captive rearing protocol and increasing public awareness about the conservation of this local insect. Ovipositional selectivity was examined for Cicindela nevadica lincolniana, Cicindela circumpicta, Cicindela togata, Cicindela punctulata, and Cicindela fulgida. Models reflect that these species of co-occurring tiger beetles select different ranges of salinity in which to oviposit thereby reducing the potential for interspecific competition. In a second study, thermoregulatory niche partitioning was examined for the same complex of tiger beetle species. Time spent in the sun, on different substrates, and engaging in various behaviors associated with thermoregulation were significantly different during different parts of the day and between species. I continued along a previous line of study to develop a viable captive rearing program. So far fourteen adult Cicindela nevadica lincolniana have been successfully reared in captivity. Overwintering mortality has been determined as a key factor in the mortality of this species in captivity. Finally, I examined the potential for using the visual arts to promote the conservation of Cicindela nevadica lincolniana and associated saline wetlands. The results from surveys conducted at the exhibit suggest that art exhibits can have a strong positive impact on members of the community.