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Coleoptera of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Species Pages

Family Carabidae

            Tribe Trechini

 Trechus (Microtrechus) tuckaleechee  Barr

The Tuckaleechee Cave ground beetle

Description and Taxonomy

Length 3.7-4.5mm. This reddish-piceous, brilliantly shining Trechus  belongs to the nebulosus-group of the subgenus Microtrechus (Barr 1962). Specimens have faint iridescent elytra and small eyes.  Externally it is distinguished from similar species with small eyes by the larger size, five well impressed striae, short recurrent groove at the apex of the elytron, and noticeable but shallow sinuosity before the subquadrate hind angles of the pronotum (Barr 1979).  About 50 species of  the genus are currently recorded for Nearctic North America (Bousquet and Larochelle 1993), and more then 13 of them inhabit GSMNP (Barr 1979).

Life History

The species is hygrophilous and confined to limestone caverns and sinkholes with permanent or seasonal  flowing water. It is not a true troglobite and is common outside caves near the entrances.  In the Park adults can be found under stones in caves or in litter at sinkholes and associated watersheds at low altitudes (400-600m).  Specimens from GSMNP were collected during June. Litter samples that produced specimens also contained such ground-beetles as  Atranus pubescens and Amphasia interstitialis.

Distribution

The species is endemic to Great Smoky Mountains, where it habits the limestone area from Turkeypen Ridge to Little Mountain outside the Park boundary. The type locality, Tuckaleechee Cavern, is a short distance outside the Park. Our records, based on specimens collected by Alexey Tishechkin from White Oak Sink valley, represent the first known collections from GSMNP. 

Conservation Concerns

Most of the known range of this species is on private land just outside the boundary of GSMNP. The type locality is a privately owned cave that is open for public tours. Though no immediate threats to the species are apparent, habitat modifications that lead to degradation of the cave systems and adjacent litter habitats in which populations occur could negatively impact it in the future. 

Habitat of  Trechus tuckaleechee.

 

 

Locality records in GSMNP.

Acknowledgements

Development of these pages was supported by grants from Discover Life in America and the National Science Foundation (DEB-0516311). Photograph of habitat courtesy Matt Gimmel, Louisiana State Arthropod Museum.

References

Barr, T. C., Jr. 1962. The genus Trechus  (Coleoptera: Carabidae: Trechini) in the Southern Appalachians. Coleopterists Bulletin 16: 65-85.

Barr, T. C., Jr.1979. Revision of Appalachian Trechus (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Brimleyana 2: 29-75.

Bousquet, Y., and  A. Larochelle. 1993. Catalogue of the Geadephaga  (Col. Trachypachidae, Rhysodidae, Carabidae, incl. Cicindelini) of America north of Mexico. Entomological Society of Canada, Memoir No.167. 395 pp.

Posted 5 Sep. 2006, I. M. Sokolov, Louisiana State Arthropod Museum.

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