Human management helps rare plants, butterflies survive hurricane

Image of Bartram's scrub-hairstreak butterfly.

(NC State) A new study from North Carolina State University shows that ongoing habitat management could help prevent hurricane-driven extinctions. The study found that a rare Florida plant, the pineland croton, weathered the damage from Hurricane Irma better in plots that were under human management than those left alone. This rare plant is the only host plant for two species of endangered butterfly – Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak and the Florida leafwing. Without croton, the butterflies will go extinct.

Gulf Coast bee, Delaware firefly move toward endangered species protection

Image of Gulf Coast solitary bee on yellow flower.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it will move forward with considering Endangered Species Act protection for the Gulf Coast solitary bee and Bethany Beach firefly. Both coastal species face increasing threats from climate-driven sea-level rise, unchecked coastal development and pesticides.

Willamette Valley prairie flower becomes Endangered Species Act success story

Image of Bradshaw's desert parsley.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing Bradshaw’s desert parsley, a wet prairie wildflower, from the list of endangered species this week due to the plant’s successful recovery. Insects observed to pollinate this plant include some small native bees.

Butterfly on a bomb range: Endangered Species Act at work

Image of St. Francis Satyr butterfly on leaf.

(AP) As a 400-pound explosive resounds in the distance, a tiny St. Francis Satyr butterfly flits among the splotchy leaves, ready to lay as many as 100 eggs. One of Earth’s rarest butterfly species, there are maybe 3,000 St. Francis Satyrs. There are never going to be enough of them to get off the endangered species list, but they’re not about to go extinct either – thanks in great measure to the 46-year-old federal act.

Rusty patched bumble bee discovered in Minnesota bluffland area

Image of rusty patched bumble bee on flower.

(StarTribune) The federally endangered bumble bee — a single male of the species — has been discovered at the Pine Bend Bluffs Natural Area in Inver Grove Heights, a positive sign for ecologists who have worked on restoring the area. Just one bee represents approximately 0.2 percent of the species’ known world population. Minnesota hosts the largest population of the bee in the world, with about 35 percent of the species buzzing about in the Twin Cities metro area.

New research provides important insights into how different species might survive extreme climate events

Image of blazing sun over city.

(Washington University in St. Louis) Faced with unprecedented change in their environments, animals and plants are scrambling to catch up — with mixed results. Researchers have developed a new model that helps to predict the types of changes that could drive a given species to extinction. This model could give wildlife managers and conservation organizations insight into the potential vulnerabilities of different species based on relatively simple assessments of their natural histories and historical environments.