No, Friday Favorites are not endangered, but many species of plants and animals are. The US Fish and Wildlife Services observes Endangered Species Day today, May 20th, 2016 to “recognize the national conservation effort to protect our nation’s endangered species and their habitats.” So to support that effort, today’s Friday Favorites are all endangered species. There are currently 83 listed insect species and 13 arachnids. Of course, there are a bunch of butterflies and other Lepidoptera, but… meh… butterflies. I posted earlier this week about the American burying beetle and here are some other entomologically awesome endangered insects:
- Ash meadows naucorid, Ambrysus amargosus – I have an affinity for aquatic insects and this little one fits the category. Raptorial front legs, natorial back legs, and a plastron for breathing make these well adapted for aquatic habitats. It is found only in the Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge in Nevada.
- Coffin cave mold beetle, Batrisodes texanus – okay so I picked this one because the name sounds so cool! But that’s not all that’s terrific about this tiny little Texas troglobite. While little is known of its life cycle, it is eyeless and thought to be predatory.
- Delta green ground beetle, Elaphrus viridis – an emerald green, metallic Carabid found around vernal pools northeast of the San Francisco Bay in California. They go dormant in the late spring when their temporary pools dry up.
- Delhi Sands flower-loving fly, Rhaphiomidas terminatus abdominalis – This fly was supposedly the first fly to be listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1993. These are important pollinators and an important part of the food chain.
- Eastern beach tiger beetle, Cicindela dorsalis dorsalis – to the east coast now, along the beaches in the Chesapeake Bay area. I have always been amazed with tiger beetles and how quickly and adeptly they can fly, pain in the butt trying to catch these for the graduate taxonomy class! The coloration on this species is just incredible.
These are just a few of the listed species, so go out there and see what’s in your area. And spread some of this entomological awesomeness around, protecting all endangered species, including the insects is important to the entire ecosystem.
Okay, one butterfly: Oregon silverspot butterfly (Speyeria zerene hippolyta)