- ES Home
- What We Do
- Candidate Conservation
- Listing and Critical Habitat
- For Landowners
- About Us
- FWS Regions
- Laws & Policies
- For Kids
- Thirty-five Years of the Endangered Species Act
- A Recovery Plan Begins to Flower
- Silvery Minnows Return to Texas
- Recovering a Strange, Elusive Gravedigger
- Reintroducing Rare Beetles to Ohio
- The Cemetery and the Clover
- Groundbreaking Research for the Nihoa Millerbird
- Climbing the Learning Curve of Short-tailed Albatross Recovery
- Cross-border Conservation in Sonora and Arizona
- The Razorback Sucker: Back from the Brink
- Stepping Up Recovery for the Houston Toad
- Hungry Goats Restore Bog Turtle Habitat
- A Challenging Future for the Black-footed Ferret
- Black-footed Ferrets Return to Kansas
- Two California Butterflies Wing Toward Recovery
- The Newell’s Shearwaters of Kilauea Point
- Showy Indian Clover Reintroduction Project
- Restoring the Oregon Chub
- Corps of Engineers Aids Missouri River Wildlife
- Central Valley Project Funds Recovery
- Using Section 7 as a Recovery Tool
- Hawaiian Petrel Faces Uncertain Future
- Endangered Species Day is a Success!
- Partners Protect Habitat for Rare Salamander
Reintroducing Rare Beetles to Ohio
Photo Credit: Sarena Selbo/FWS
by Sarena M. Selbo
In the summer of 2008, biologists released 228 pairs of captive-bred American burying beetles (Nicrophorus americanus) on the Wayne National Forest in southeast Ohio. The reintroduction of this endangered species into Ohio began in 1998 with the release of beetles from healthy populations in Arkansas. Since 2002, Ohio State University (OSU) has maintained a captive breeding colony for release of beetles within the state. Beetles for the 2008 release came from OSU and the Saint Louis Zoo, which has been producing beetles for release in Ohio since 2005. This was the largest release in Ohio and the first release of American burying beetles on the Wayne National Forest.
Photo Credit: Sarena Selbo/FWS
Reintroducing this endangered insect to Ohio has involved carefully planned matchmaking skills. Before they leave the comforts of their captive breeding facility, George Keeney, an entomologist at OSU, places one female beetle and one male in a plastic container to "get to know each other." Once the beetle pairs arrive at the reintroduction sites, we provide them with food—a dead quail. A pair of beetles is positioned on each quail and covered with a plastic plant pot. Fencing is placed over the pots to reduce competition from other scavengers.
American burying beetles then form a brood chamber and prepare the carrion for use by their offspring. Unusual for insects, burying beetles display a high level of parental care, with both males and females tending the larvae.
Two weeks after the reintroduction, we returned to the site to estimate our success rate. OSU, Forest Service, and Fish and Wildlife Service biologists carefully unearthed a subset of the burials and examined them for the presence of American burying beetle larvae. We estimated a 40 percent success rate (presence of larvae) for burials. This is very comparable to past reintroduction efforts in the state. Further monitoring through post-release trapping will indicate how successfully the beetles emerged into adulthood.
Partners in this recovery project include OSU, the Wilds (a private wildlife conservation center), the Saint Louis Zoo, the Ohio Division of Wildlife, the Forest Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Sarena M. Selbo, a fish and wildlife biologist formerly in the Service’s Reynoldsburg, Ohio, office, and now in the Mountain-Prairie Regional Office in Lakewood, Colorado, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What We Do
- Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs)
- Safe Harbor Agreements
- Candidate Conservation Agreements
- Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances
- Recovery Credits and Tax Deductions
- Conservation Banking
- Conservation Plans Database
- Information, Planning and Conservation System (IPaC)
- Recovery Online Activity Reporting System (ROAR)
- News Stories
- Featured Species
- Recovery Success Stories
- Endangered Species Bulletin
- Partnership Stories