[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 33 (Friday, February 17, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 9618-9619]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-3791]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2012-0001; 4500030113]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on 
a Petition To List the Thermophilic Ostracod as Endangered or 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce a 90-day 
finding on a petition to list the thermophilic ostracod (Potamocypris 
hunteri) as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act 
of 1973, as amended (Act). Based on our review, we find that the 
petition does not present substantial information indicating that 
listing the thermophilic ostracod may be warranted. Therefore, we are 
not initiating a status review in response to this petition. We ask the 
public to submit to us any new information that becomes available 
concerning the status of, or threats to, the thermophilic ostracod or 
its habitat at any time.

DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on February 17, 

ADDRESSES: This finding is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number FWS-R8-ES-2012-0001. Supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this finding is available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office, 1936 
California Avenue, Klamath Falls, CA 97601. Please submit any new 
information, materials, comments, or questions concerning this finding 
to the above street address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurie Sada, Field Supervisor, Klamath 
Falls Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES), by telephone at 541-
885-2507, or by facsimile to 541-885-7837. If you use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.



    Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires 
that we make a finding on whether a petition to list, delist, or 
reclassify a species presents substantial scientific or commercial 
information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. We 
are to base this finding on information provided in the petition, 
supporting information submitted with the petition, and information 
otherwise available in our files. To the maximum extent practicable, we 
are to make this finding within 90 days of our receipt of the petition, 
and publish our notice of the finding promptly in the Federal Register.
    Our standard for substantial scientific or commercial information 
within the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) with regard to a 90-day 
petition finding is ``that amount of information that would lead a 
reasonable person to believe that the measure proposed in the petition 
may be warranted'' (50 CFR 424.14(b)). If we find that substantial 
scientific or commercial information was presented, we are required to 
promptly conduct a species status review, which we subsequently 
summarize in our 12-month finding.

Petition History

    On March 8, 2011, we received a petition dated March 4, 2011, from 
Chris Zinda (Friends of Hunter's Hot Springs) and Drs. Brendan Bohannan 
and Richard Castenholz (University of Oregon) requesting that the 
thermophilic ostracod (Potamocypris hunteri) be listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Act. The petition clearly identified itself as 
such and included the requisite identification information for the 
petitioner, as required by 50 CFR 424.14(a). In a May 4, 2011, letter 
to the petitioner, we responded that we had reviewed the information 
presented in the petition and determined that issuing an emergency 
regulation temporarily listing the species under section 4(b)(7) of the 
Act was not warranted. We also stated that we were required to complete 
a significant number of listing and critical habitat actions in Fiscal 
Year 2011 pursuant to court orders, judicially approved settlement 
agreements, and other statutory deadlines, but that we had secured 
funding for Fiscal Year 2012 and anticipated publishing a finding in 
the Federal Register in 2012. This finding addresses the petition.

Evaluation of Listable Entity

    Section 3(16) of the Act defines the term ``species'' to include 
``any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct 
population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which 
interbreeds when mature.'' Entities that meet the Act's definition of a 
``species'' can be considered for listing under the Act and are, 
therefore, referred to as ``listable entities.'' Listable entities can 
then be listed if they are determined to meet the definition of an 
endangered species or a threatened species. Prior to making a 
determination of whether the petition presents substantial information 
to indicate whether listing may be warranted, we must address the 
question of whether the petition presents substantial information to 
indicate whether the petitioned thermophilic ostracod may be a listable 
entity. We may consider the petitioned ostracod to be a listable entity 
if information submitted with the petition or in our files indicates 
that treatment of this ostracod as a listable entity may be warranted. 
Based on the information presented in the petition and information in 
our files, there is a considerable amount of uncertainty regarding the 
taxonomy of this entity. The following paragraphs present our 
evaluation of whether Potamocypris hunteri may be a listable entity.
    Wickstrom and Castenholz (1973, p. 1063) reported finding what they 
considered to be a new undescribed species of Potamocypris at Hunter's 
Hot Springs (Hunter's) in southeastern Oregon. The Latin name 
Potamocypris hunteri was coined in a footnote in 1973, but not 
accompanied by a formal description (Wickstrom and Castenholz 1973, p. 
1064). Wickstrom and

[[Page 9619]]

Castenholz (1973, p. 1064) stated that a formal description was 
forthcoming, and suggested that the animal might be the same as P. 
perbrunnea, which is discussed in Brues' (1932, p. 222) paper. However, 
Wickstrom and Castenholz (1973) did not provide any description, 
diagnosis, or references to specimens, and the animal was not formally 
described. Thus, P. hunteri is a nomen nudum (a species lacking a 
formal scientific name) with no standing. However, the Service will 
consider a taxon for listing that lacks a formal name if there is 
credible scientific evidence indicating that the taxon constitutes a 
listable entity as a species or subspecies under section 3(16) of the 
    Additionally, the petition provides documentation of an ostracod 
named Thermopsis thermophila, which was validly published with a 
complete description and notes on the habitat 
(K[uuml]lk[ouml]yl[uuml]o[gbreve]lu et al. 2003, pp. 114-115). 
K[uuml]lk[ouml]yl[uuml]o[gbreve]lu et al. (2003, p. 114) established 
the species in a new genus, recognizing that the generic diagnosis is 
provisional. They provided a description and diagnosis for 
distinguishing Thermopsis from Potamocypris and several other related 
genera (K[uuml]lk[ouml]yl[uuml]o[gbreve]lu et al. 2003, pp. 114-115). 
The species description was based on collections from northern Nevada. 
K[uuml]lk[ouml]yl[uuml]o[gbreve]lu et al. (2003, p. 122), in referring 
to additional Potamocypris taxa that have been observed, stated: ``We 
strongly suspect Potamocypris perbrunnea, P. varicolor, P. hunteri, and 
above all Wickstrom and Castenholz' (1973, 1985) Potamocypris sp. to be 
identical to Thermopsis thermophila.'' The authors made this conclusion 
due to the lack of taxonomic indications and verifications for the 
generic Potamocypris standing of these species 
(K[uuml]lk[ouml]yl[uuml]o[gbreve]lu et al. 2003, pp. 121-122). The 
authors clearly considered all of these undescribed taxa to be 
conspecific with (i.e., belonging to the same species as) their T. 
thermophila, although here the petition paraphrased this statement as 
``* * * the similarity was suggested'' (Zinda et al. 2011, p. 5).
    The petition does not provide generic descriptions, nor does it 
provide any other morphological, ecological, distributional, genetic, 
or other differences to distinguish the petitioned entity from 
thermophilic ostracods in other hot springs throughout the Great Basin, 
including Thermopsis thermophila. This information could indicate 
whether the petitioned Potamocypris hunteri is endemic or qualifies as 
a listable entity even if it lacks a validly published name, but no 
description data were provided, nor are any available within our files. 
The description provided by the petition, within references cited, or 
within our files for P. hunteri consists only of the location where the 
animal is found and reference to its ability to withstand 49 degrees 
Centigrade ([deg]C) (120 degrees Fahrenheit ([deg]F)) (Zinda et al. 
2011, p. 5).
    In summary, our review of the information supplied with the 
petition and in our files indicates there is a great deal of taxonomic 
uncertainty surrounding Potamocypris hunteri as evidenced by the 1932, 
1973, and 2003 papers (Brues 1932, p. 222; Wickstrom and Castenholz 
1973, p. 1064; K[uuml]lk[ouml]yl[uuml]o[gbreve]lu et al. 2003, pp. 114-
115). Our general practice in recognizing a currently undescribed taxon 
as a possible listable entity is, at a minimum, to have the scientific 
community recognize the taxonomic validity of an entity, even if a 
formal taxonomic treatment has not been published. In this case, there 
is no information that would indicate that Potamocypris hunteri is a 
recognized taxon in the scientific community. Therefore, the 
information in the petition and in our files does not present 
substantial scientific or commercial information to indicate the 
petitioned P. hunteri may be a listable entity. Consequently, we will 
not proceed with an evaluation of the five factors described in section 
4(a)(1) of the Act. Although we will not review the status of the 
petitioned entity at this time, if you wish to provide additional 
information regarding the thermophilic ostracod, you may submit your 
information or materials to the Field Supervisor, Klamath Falls Fish 
and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES), at any time.

References Cited

    A complete list of references cited is available on the Internet at 
http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the Klamath Falls Fish 
and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES).


    The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the 
Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES).


    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: February 6, 2012.
Rowan W. Gould,
Deputy Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-3791 Filed 2-16-12; 8:45 am]