Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Service Completes Initial Reviews on ESA Petitions for Two Species

December 18, 2019

Contact(s):

Brian Hires, brian_hires@fws.gov, 703-358-2191



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed initial reviews on petitions to list two species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA): the Bethany Beach firefly and the Gulf Coast solitary bee. The Service has concluded there is substantial information available to begin in-depth reviews to determine whether the petitioned actions are warranted.

The Bethany Beach firefly is a bioluminescent beetle known to occur only in Delaware.  It emerges during summer in unique freshwater wetlands that develop behind dunes along the Atlantic Ocean beaches.  This firefly is Delaware’s sole recognized endemic species.  It can be distinguished by the double green flash given off by adult males in search of mates.  

The Service finds the petition to list the Bethany Beach firefly presented substantial information on potential threats associated with light pollution, invasive species, pesticide use and the effects of climate change (sea level rise, increased incidence of severe storms, and increased temperature and phenology changes).

The Gulf Coast solitary bee is a fuzzy yellow-and-black-striped bee restricted to the sandy barrier islands and landward dunes along the northern margins of the Gulf of Mexico that extend from Horn Island, Mississippi, eastward to St. Andrew’s Bay in northwestern Florida.  This bee is a floral specialist that feeds only on the plant known as the Coastal Plain honeycomb head. The Service finds the petition to list the Gulf Coast solitary bee presented substantial information on potential threats associated with effects from climate change, pesticide spraying, urbanization and loss of pollination mutualism (preeminent association of two interactors, plant and insect, reciprocally benefiting).

The ESA allows citizens to petition the Service to add species to the federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, remove species from the list, and to reclassify species already on the list.

The Federal Register docket numbers and links for the substantial petition findings in this batch are:

Species

Range

Docket Number

Docket link

Bethany Beach firefly

DE

FWS–R5–ES–2019–0088

https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D= FWS-R5-ES-2019-0088

Gulf Coast solitary bee

AL, MS, FL

FWS–R4–ES–2019–0089

https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D= FWS-R4-ES-2019-0089

 

The notice for the above findings will be available in the Federal Register Reading Room on December 18, 2019 at https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection on the 2019 Notices link under Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

For more information on the ESA listing process, including 90-day findings and status reviews, please go to www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf.


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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