1 Endangered Beetle Species Gets Protected, 2 More Go Extinct

来源:搜狐教育 2016-10-12 16:44:00

ArarebeetlefromFloridawasgrantedprotectionsundertheEndangeredSpeciesActlastweekjustinthenickoftime.WithouttheESA,thelasttwohabitatsoftheMiamitigerbeetle(Cicindelafloridana)mighthavedisappearedtomakewayforaWalmartandathemepark.

Unfortunately,thenewsisn’tasgoodfortwootherbeetlespeciesfromArizonaandKentucky.BoththeTatumCavebeetle(Pseudanophthalmusparvus)andtheStephan'sRifflebeetle(Heterelmisstephani),whichwerealsocandidatesforEndangeredSpeciesActprotection,haveinsteadbeendeclaredextinct.

ThisisactuallyaprettygoodturnofeventsfortheMiamitigerbeetle—anaggressivepredatorfromtheuniquepinerocklandsecosystemofSouthFlorida—whichwasfirstdocumentedbysciencebackin1934butthenwentunseenforanothersixdecades.Itwasactuallythoughttobeextinctuntilitwasrediscoveredin2007inMiami.TheCenterforBiologicalDiversityfiledanemergencypetitionforprotectionin2014andtheU.S.FishandWildlifeServiceproposedthespeciesbelistedundertheESAayearlater.Lastweektheagencyformalizedthoseprotections.

“OnlytwosmallpopulationsoftherareMiamitigerbeetlestillsurviveinitspinerocklandhabitat,”CindyDohner,FWSSoutheastRegionalDirector,saidinapreparedrelease.“Wearelistingthebeetletoensureitscontinuedsurvivalandconserveitsshrinkinghabitat.”Althoughtheagencydidnotyetdeclarecriticalhabitatforthespecies,ithastakenstepstopreservethelandwherethebeetlelives.“WeareworkingcloselywithprospectivedevelopersandkeystakeholdersinMiami-DadeCountytoensurethattheMiamitigerbeetleisconsideredindevelopmentormanagementplans,”Dohnersaid.

Unfortunately,thingsdidnotmoveasquicklyfortheothertwobeetles.FWSrecognizedthattheStephen’srifflebeetleandtheTatumCavebeetleeachprobablyneededprotectionbackin1984and1994,respectively,butfailedtotakeactionbecauseotherspecieswereconsideredhigherpriorities.Thatnowdelayappearstohavebeenenoughtimetopushbothspeciesintoextinction.FWSconductednumeroussearchesforthetwobeetlespecies,noneofwhichturnedupanyevidenceoftheirsurvival.Lastweek,inresponsetoanotherlawsuitbytheCenterforBiologicalDiversity,theagencydeclaredthatneitherbeetlewouldbeprotectedundertheESAbecausebothspeciesarenowpresumedtobeextinct.

TheTatumCavebeetlewaslastseenin1965.Itprobablywentextinctduetoacombinationofpollution,humanvisitationofitscavehabitat,droughtandotherfactors.Stephen’srifflebeetle,meanwhile,hasnotbeenobservedsince1993.OneofitstwoknownhabitatswasconvertedintoacampgroundwhiletheothersawitswatersuppliesdivertedforwhatFWSdescribedasdomesticandrecreationalwatersupplies.

“FewpeopleeversawtheStephan’srifflebeetleortheTatumCavebeetle,andperhapsnotmanywillmourntheirpassing,”theCenterforBiologicalDiversity’sMichaelRobinsonsaidinapreparedrelease.“Buttheextinctionofspecies,tinyandtremendousalike,leavesusallalittlepoorer,whetherwerecognizethelossesornot.”

FWSacknowledgedthatboththeTatumCaveandStephen’srifflespecies,liketheMiamitigerbeetle,couldconceivablystillexistbutjustbehardtolocate.Iftheyeverturnupagain,theagencysaiditwillreconsidertheirprotection.However,giventheamountoftimesincetheyhavebeenseen,theintenseeffortstolocatethem,andthedestructioncausedtotheirtinyhabitats,thatseemsunlikelyatbest.

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