[Federal Register: February 2, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 21)]
[Page 5460-5463]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 5-Year Review of 
Lesser Long-nosed Bat, Black-capped Vireo, Yuma Clapper Rail, Pima 
Pineapple Cactus, Gypsum Wild-Buckwheat, Mesa Verde Cactus, and Zuni 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of review.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces a 5-
year review of the lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris curasoae 
yerbabuenae), the black-capped vireo (Vireo atricapilla), the Yuma 
clapper rail (Rallus longirostris yumanensis), Pima pineapple cactus 
(Coryphantha sheeri var. robustispina), gypsum wild-buckwheat (Erigonum 
gypsophilum), Mesa Verde cactus (Sclerocactus mesae-verde), and Zuni 
fleabane (Erigeron rhizomatus) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 
(Act). The purpose of reviews conducted under this section of the Act 
is to ensure that the classification of species as threatened or 
endangered on the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants 
(50 CFR 17.12) is accurate. The 5-year review is an assessment of the 
best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the 

DATES: To allow adequate time to conduct this review, information 
submitted for our consideration must be received on or before May 3, 
2005. However, we will continue to accept new information about any 
listed species at any time.

ADDRESSES: Information submitted on these species should be sent to the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the following addresses. Information 
received in response to this notice of review will be available for 
public inspection by appointment, during normal business hours, at the 
same addresses.
    Information regarding the lesser long-nosed bat, Yuma clapper rail, 
and Pima pineapple cactus should be sent to the Field Supervisor, 
Attention 5-year Review, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona 
Ecological Services Field Office, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, 
Phoenix, AZ 85021.
    Information regarding the black-capped vireo should be sent to the 
Field Supervisor, Attention 5-year Review, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Ecological Services, 711 Stadium Drive, Suite 252, Arlington, 
TX 76011.
    Information regarding gypsum wild-buckwheat, Mesa verde cactus, and 
Zuni fleabane should be sent to the Field Supervisor, Attention 5-year 
Review, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New Mexico Ecological Services 
Field Office, 2105 Osuna Road NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For the lesser long-nosed bat, contact 
Scott Richardson at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Arizona 
Ecological Services Tucson Sub-Office, 201 North Bonita, Suite 141, 
Tucson, AZ 84745, 520-670-6150 x 242, scott_richardson@fws.gov. For 
the Pima pineapple cactus, contact Mima Falk at Tucson Sub-Office 
address above, 520-670-6150 x 225, mima_falk@fws.gov. For the black-
capped vireo, contact Omar Bocanegra at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Ecological Services Field Office, 711 Stadium Drive, 
Arlington, TX 76011, 817-277-1100, omar_bocanegra@fws.gov. For the 
Yuma clapper rail, contact Lesley Fitzpatrick at the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service Arizona Ecological Services Field Office, 2321 West 
Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ, 85021, 602-242-0210 x 236, 
lesley_fitzpatrick@fws.gov. For the gypsum wild-buckwheat, Mesa Verde 
cactus, and Zuni fleabane, contact Nancy Baczek at the New Mexico 
Ecological Services Field Office, 2105 Osuna Road, NE, Albuquerque, NM 
87113, 505-761-4711, nancy_baczek@fws.gov.


Why Is a 5-Year Review Conducted?

    Section 4(c)(2)(A) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires 
that we conduct a review of listed species at least once every 5 years. 
We are then, under section 4(c)(2)(B) and the provisions of subsections 
(a) and (b), to determine, on the basis of such a review, whether or 
not any species should be removed from the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants (delisted), or reclassified from 
endangered to threatened (downlisted) , or from threatened to 
endangered (uplisted). The 5-year review is an assessment of the best 
scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review. 
Therefore, we are requesting submission of any new information (best 
scientific and commercial data) on the following species since their 
original listings as either endangered (lesser long-nosed bat, black-
capped vireo, Yuma clapper rail, and Pima pineapple cactus) or 
threatened (gypsum wild-buckwheat, Mesa Verde cactus, and Zuni 

[[Page 5461]]

If the present classification of any of these species is not consistent 
with the best scientific and commercial information available, the 
Service will recommend whether or not a change is warranted in the 
Federal classification of that species. Any change in Federal 
classification would require a separate final rule-making process.
    Our regulations at 50 CFR 424.21 require that we publish a notice 
in the Federal Register announcing those species currently under active 
review. This notice announces our active review of the lesser long-
nosed bat, black-capped vireo, Yuma clapper rail, Pima pineapple 
cactus, gypsum wild-buckwheat, Mesa Verde cactus, and Zuni fleabane.

What Information Is Considered in the Review?

    A 5-year review considers all new information available at the time 
of the review. These reviews will consider the best scientific and 
commercial data that has become available since the current listing 
determination or most recent status review of each species, such as:
    A. Species biology, including but not limited to population trends, 
distribution, abundance, demographics, and genetics;
    B. Habitat conditions, including but not limited to amount, 
distribution, and suitability;
    C. Conservation measures that have been implemented to benefit the 
    D. Threat status and trends (see five factors under heading ``How 
do we determine whether a species is endangered or threatened?''); and
    E. Other new information, data, or corrections, including but not 
limited to taxonomic or nomenclatural changes, identification of 
erroneous information contained in the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants, and improved analytical methods.

Specific Information Requested for the Lesser Long-Nosed Bat

    We are especially interested in the results of survey and 
monitoring efforts that provide a better understanding of current 
population numbers and the status, security, and location of roost 
sites in the U.S. and Mexico. We also specifically request any recent 
information regarding the impacts of agave plant harvest and/or 
livestock grazing on the numbers and distribution of agaves and 
associated impacts on forage availability for lesser long-nosed bats.

Specific Information Requested for the Black-Capped Vireo

    We are especially interested in the following information: (1) 
Distribution of populations and suitable habitat across the breeding 
range and the degree of protection afforded these populations and 
habitat; (2) evaluation of the viability of breeding populations; (3) 
the distribution of wintering populations and evaluation of the extent 
and security of wintering habitat in Mexico; and (4) short- and long-
term effects of various management activities on vireo populations and 
breeding habitat, including brown-headed cowbird control, brush 
management, prescribed fire, and livestock grazing.

Specific Information Requested for the Yuma Clapper Rail

    We specifically request information regarding the distribution of 
listed populations and evaluation of the degree of habitat protection 
for each population, and information regarding management plans and 
techniques for maintaining clapper rail habitat. We also are 
particularly interested in recent information regarding the effects of 
selenium on clapper rail reproductive success.

Special Consideration of a Taxonomic Question Regarding the Pima 
Pineapple Cactus

    Two studies of character variation within the species Coryphantha 
robustispina have recently become available to us: One was recently 
published by Schmalzel et al. (2004), and the other is a report by 
Baker (2004) of Arizona State University regarding a study carried out 
under our cooperative agreement with the Arizona Department of 
Agriculture under section 6 of the Endangered Species Act. These two 
studies reach different conclusions concerning the taxonomic validity 
of the Pima pineapple cactus (Coryphantha scheeri var. robustispina)).
    We have carefully reviewed both reports and have identified several 
technical issues on which we are particularly soliciting review and 
comment by knowledgeable experts during this status review of the Pima 
pineapple cactus.
    Schmalzel et al. (2004) concluded that their data suggest that the 
Pima pineapple cactus, a listed variety of C. robustispina (based on 
Taylor (1998) nomenclature), is not a valid taxonomic entity, and 
therefore does not meet the definition of ``species'' under the Act. 
They based this conclusion on (1) clinal variation in certain 
characters from west to east, and (2) overlap in characters between the 
populations of C. robustispina.
    The term ``clinal'' comes from ``cline,'' which is a gradation in 
measurable characters (Huxley 1938). The existence of clinal patterns 
in characters within a species can be compatible with recognition of 
taxa (named units) below the level of species (infra-specific taxa). 
Julian Huxley (1938) first proposed the term ``cline'' as ``an 
auxiliary taxonomic principle,'' and observed that clines could be 
intragroup, or within a population, or intergroup, as in ``connecting 
the mean values of the subspecies of a polytypic species.'' The plant 
varieties recognized as valid for listing under the ESA are 
biologically equivalent to subspecies (USFWS 1978). We seek comment and 
additional information regarding the conclusions of Schmalzel et al. 
(2004) with regard to clinal variation in C. robustispina.
    Regarding overlap in characters, Schmalzel et al. interpret their 
principle components analysis as demonstrating overlap in geographic 
groups of C. robustispina, and suggest this overlap is further evidence 
that the varieties are not distinct. The morphometric analysis provided 
by Schmalzel et al. (2004) did not include four of the characters (stem 
branching and three floral characters) identified by Benson (1982) for 
distinguishing varieties of C. robustispina, although a general 
narrative discussion of those characters was provided. We seek comment 
on their conclusions with regard to character overlap and the 
implications of not including the characters identified by Benson 
(1982) in the analysis.
    Baker (2004) assessed character variation in C. robustispina with 
respect to the three recognized varieties, including the Pima pineapple 
cactus. Baker (2004) included stem branching in his study, but did not 
include floral characters. Baker's ongoing research will address floral 
characters, to be completed in 2005. To date, Baker has found 
statistically significant differences among the named varieties for 
most characters, although Pima pineapple cactus did not significantly 
differ from the variety that was closest geographically in two of the 
characters (radial spine length and central spine curvature) used by 
Benson (1982) to distinguish varieties of C. robustispina.
    The plots of Baker's (2004) principal components analysis show 
points corresponding to the Pima pineapple cactus to be largely 
separate from, but having some overlap with, points representing 
Coryphantha robustispina uncinata, the variety geographically

[[Page 5462]]

nearest to the Pima pineapple cactus. The amount of overlap appears to 
be at least grossly comparable to the corresponding amount in Fig. 10 
of Schmalzel et al. (2004). Baker's (2004) discriminant function 
analysis showed that the character data correctly identified 
individuals of C. robustispina from Pima and Santa Cruz Counties, 
Arizona, as Pima pineapple cactus 92.3 percent of the time. Baker 
(2004) concluded that, based on the allopatry (disjunct geographic 
distributions) and observed morphological separation of the varieties, 
all three varieties of C. robustispina are taxonomically valid.
    Stebbins (1950 provided the following definition for the term 
subspecies: ``The subspecies or geographic variety is a series of 
populations having certain morphological and physiological 
characteristics in common, inhabiting a geographic subdivision of the 
range of the species or a series of similar ecological habitats, and 
differing in several characteristics from typical members of other 
subspecies, although connected with one or more of them by series of 
intergrading forms.'' Stuessy's (1990) general standards for 
recognition of plant subspecies or varieties are consistent with 
Stebbins' definition. Stuessy states that plant subspecies are largely 
allopatric (occupying geographically different areas), but allows for 
some degree of contact, hybridization, and overlap.
    The taxonomic question that we must evaluate in the present status 
review is whether the observed amount of overlap in characters between 
Pima pineapple cactus and other varieties of C. robustispina is 
acceptable for continued recognition of the Pima pineapple cactus as a 
valid taxon. It appears to us that the two studies summarized in this 
notice generally agree in the gross amount of overlap (although it was 
not quantified by Schmalzel et al. 2004) but disagree in the taxonomic 
significance of that overlap.
    We are soliciting review and comment on any issue related to the 
listed status of the Pima pineapple cactus in order to determine 
whether its continued listing under the Act is justified. If the best 
available scientific and commercial information indicates that the Pima 
pineapple cactus is not a valid taxon, we will develop a proposal to 
remove it from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and 
Plants. It is therefore important that we have a full understanding of 
current concepts and standards of plant taxonomy as they apply to the 
taxonomic standing of the Pima pineapple cactus to ensure that our 
decision is based on the best available information. Other issues on 
which we would like comment are the use of herbarium specimens for this 
type of work, and the appropriate sample size for evaluating 
differences within populations and between varieties. Given the 
different taxonomic conclusions of the two recent studies, we are 
particularly soliciting review and comment by knowledgeable experts in 
multivariate methods and plant taxonomy on the two studies summarized 
in this notice and identification of the taxonomic issues that we have 
    A copy of Baker's study is available on our Web site at: http://southwest.fws.gov/.
 The citation for the study by Schmalzel et al. 

(2004) is provided below.

Literature Cited

Baker, Marc. 2004. Phenetic analysis of Coryphantha, section 
Robustispina (Cactaceae), part 1: stem characters. Section 6 Grant 
Report, 4 May 2004.
Benson, L. 1982. The Cacti of the United States and Canada. Stanford 
University Press, Stanford, California.
Huxley, J. 1938. Clines: an auxiliary taxonomic principle. Nature 
Schmalzel, R. J., R. T. Nixon, A. L. Best, J. A. Tress, Jr. 2004. 
Morphometric variation in Coryphantha robustispina (Cactaceae). 
Systematic Botany 29(3):553-568.
Stebbins, G. L. 1950. Variation and Evolution in Plants. Columbia 
University Press, NY. 643 pp.
Stuessy, T. F. 1990. Plant Taxonomy; The Systematic Evaluation of 
Comparative Data. Columbia University Press, New York. 514 pp.
USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). 1978. Determination that 11 
plant taxa are endangered species and 2 plant taxa are threatened 
species. Federal Register 43(81):17910-17916; April 26, 1978.

How Are Lesser Long-Nosed Bat, Black-Capped Vireo, Yuma Clapper Rail, 
Pima Pineapple Cactus, Gypsum Wild-Buckwheat, Mesa Verde Cactus, and 
Zuni Fleabane Currently Listed?

    The List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (List) is 
found in 50 CFR 17.11 (wildlife) and 17.12 (plants). Amendments to the 
List through final rules are published in the Federal Register. The 
List is also available on our Internet site at http://endangered.fws.gov/wildlife.html#Species.
 In Table 1 below, we provide 

a summary of the listing information for the species under active 

    Table 1.--Summary of the Listing Information for Lesser Long-Nosed Bat, Yuma Clapper Rail, Pima Pineapple
                       Cactus, Gypsum Wild-Buckwheat, Mesa Verde Cactus, and Zuni Fleabane
           Common name              Scientific name         Status           Where listed     Final listing rule
Lesser long-nosed bat...........  Leptonycteris       Endangered........  Across species      53 FR 38456, (30-
                                   curasoae                                range (U.S.A.,      SEP-1988).
                                   yerbabuenae \1\.                        Mexico, Central
Black-capped vireo..............  Vireo atricapilla   Endangered........  U.S.A. (Kansas,     52 FR 37420, (6-
                                   \2\.                                    Oklahoma, Texas,    OCT-1987).
                                                                           Mexico) \3\.
Yuma clapper rail...............  Rallus              Endangered........  U.S.A (Arizona,     32 FR 4001, (11-
                                   longirostris                            California).        MAR-67).
Pima pineapple cactus...........  Coryphantha         Endangered........  Across species      58 FR 49875, (25-
                                   scheeri var                             range (southern     OCT-93).
                                   robustispina.                           Arizona and
                                                                           northern Sonora,
Gypsum wild-buckwheat...........  Erigonum            Threatened with     Across species      46 FR 5730, (19-
                                   gypsphilum.         Critical Habitat.   range (Eddy         JAN-81).
                                                                           County, New
Mesa Verde cactus...............  Sclerocactus mesae- Threatened........  Across species      44 FR 62471, (30-
                                   verdae.                                 range (southwest    OCT-79).
                                                                           northwest New
                                                                           Mexico, northeast

[[Page 5463]]

Zuni fleabane...................  Erigeron            Threatened........  Across species      50 FR 16680, (26-
                                   rhizomatus.                             range (Arizona      APR-85).
                                                                           and New Mexico).
\1\ Synonyms for this species include L. sanborni, L. nivalis sanborni, L. yerbabunae, and L. curasoae.
\2\ The scientific name of this species has recently been changed from V. atricapillus to V. atricapilla (Dave,
  N. and M. Gosselin. 2002. Gender agreement of the avian species names. Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 122: 14-49).
\3\ We believe the table concluding the Final Rule for the black-capped vireo erroneously included Nebraska and
  Louisiana as part of the historic range of the species.

Definitions Related to This Notice

    The following definitions are provided to assist those persons who 
contemplate submitting information regarding the species being 
    A. Species includes any species or subspecies of fish, wildlife, or 
plant, and any distinct population segment of any species of 
vertebrate, which interbreeds when mature.
    B. Endangered means any species that is in danger of extinction 
throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
    C. Threatened means any species that is likely to become an 
endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range.

How Do We Determine Whether a Species Is Endangered or Threatened?

    Section 4(a)(1) of the Act establishes that we determine whether a 
species is endangered or threatened based on one or more of the five 
following factors:
    A. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range;
    B. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;
    C. Disease or predation;
    D. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
    E. Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
    Section 4(a)(1) of the Act requires that our determination be made 
on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.

What Could Happen as a Result of This Review?

    If we find that there is new information concerning lesser long-
nosed bat, black-capped vireo, Yuma clapper rail, Pima pineapple 
cactus, gypsum wild-buckwheat, Mesa Verde cactus, or Zuni fleabane 
indicating a change in classification may be warranted, we may propose 
a new rule that could do one of the following: (a) Reclassify the 
species from endangered to threatened (downlist); (b) reclassify the 
species from threatened to endangered (uplist); or (c) remove the 
species from the List. If we determine that a change in classification 
is not warranted, then these species will remain on the List under 
their current status.

Public Solicitation of New Information

    We request any new information concerning the status of lesser 
long-nosed bat, black-capped vireo, Yuma clapper rail, Pima pineapple 
cactus, gypsum wild-buckwheat, Mesa Verde cactus, and Zuni fleabane. 
See ``What information is considered in the review?'' heading for 
specific criteria. Information submitted should be supported by 
documentation such as maps, bibliographic references, methods used to 
gather and analyze the data, and/or copies of any pertinent 
publications, reports, or letters by knowledgeable sources. Our 
practice is to make comments, including names and home addresses of 
respondents, available for public review. Individual respondents may 
request that we withhold their home addresses from the supporting 
record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There also 
may be circumstances in which we may withhold from the supporting 
record a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you wish us to 
withhold your name and/or address, you must state this prominently at 
the beginning of your comment. We will not consider anonymous comments, 
however. We will make all submissions from organizations or businesses, 
and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or 
officials of organizations or businesses, available for public 
inspection in their entirety.

    Authority: This document is published under the authority of the 
Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: December 16, 2004.
Geoffrey L. Haskett,
Acting Regional Director, Region 2, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 05-1924 Filed 2-1-05; 8:45 am]