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Funded in part by award DEB0447694 from the National Science Foundation to M. Caterino.

Last updated 01/16/2009

  California Beetle Project > Endangered beetles > Delta Green Ground Beetle

Delta Green Ground Beetle
Elaphrus viridis
listed Threatened August, 1980

The Delta Green Ground Beetle inhabits the margins of vernal pools in California's Central Valley. Vernal Pools, depressions that hold water for a short time following winter rains, are among California's most unique and special habitats, for both plants and animals. That this ground beetle was completely dependent on these ephemeral wetlands for survival wasn't realized until 1974, by which time most had been destroyed to make way for agriculture. At the time of its listing, the species was known to occur at only two pools in Solano County.

The Delta Green, like most ground beetles, is a generalist predator, in both its adult and larval stages. They forage around pool edges for other small invertebrates, such as springtails, fly larvae, and other small beetles. When the pools dry up in the summer, the beetles go underground awaiting the next rainy season.

Vernal pools have numerous endemic species, and the Delta Green Ground Beetle benefits from being part of a large cohort of ecologically interrelated species. Recent conservation plans have focused on improving protections for existing vernal pools, as well as recreating them in areas they once occurred. Such habitat focused efforts are clearly the best way forward for endangered species recovery.


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