For Immediate Release, December 18, 2015
Contact: Jaclyn Lopez, (727) 490-9190, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gem-like Beetle in South Florida Moves Closer to Endangered Species Act Protection
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— In response to a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and partners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that the Miami tiger beetle, found only in the pine rocklands of South Florida, is presently endangered and proposed it for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The Center petitioned for this species in December 2014 after learning that it is threatened by a planned strip mall featuring a Walmart and a proposed theme park.
“Watching the Miami tiger beetle forage, with its shiny, iridescent body and lightning- quick legs, is mesmerizing,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center. “Endangered Species Act protection will help ensure the beetle’s rare pine rockland hunting grounds remain intact in the face of ever-pressing development.”
The Miami tiger beetle has a shiny-green appearance and is so named for its aggressive, predatory behavior, strong mandibles and fast running speed. It is only found in South Florida’s pine rocklands, which is one of the most imperiled habitats in the world. Several other endangered species are found in this habitat, including the Florida bonneted bat, Carter’s small-flowered flax, Florida brickell-bush, Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak butterfly, Florida leafwing butterfly, deltoid spurge and tiny polygala. Pine rockland habitat has been fragmented and degraded by agricultural and urban development, and this last remaining tract of privately owned rockland is slated for conversion into a mixed-use strip mall and a theme park.
Today’s “proposed” listing opens up a public comment period for the next 60 days.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.