For Immediate Release, July 5, 2007
Contact: Ileene Anderson, Center for Biological Diversity, (323) 654-5943
Bush Administration Recognizes Casey’s June Beetle
As Imperiled But Refuses to Protect
PALM SPRINGS, Calif.– In response to a petition and lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity, entomologist David Wright, and the Sierra Club, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the Casey’s June beetle (Dinacoma caseyi Blaisdell) deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act due to threats associated with urban development and the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms.
Despite this, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined the species will not receive protection as threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act but will join 279 other species on the candidate species list awaiting action by the Bush administration.
“The Bush administration has the worst record of protecting the nation’s wildlife of any modern presidency,” said Ileene Anderson, biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “This is another prime example of the Bush administration's war on the environment. It recognizes that the poor Casey's June beetle is sliding down the slope to extinction due to rampant sprawl development, but refuses to do anything about it.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service found that due to declines in distribution and abundance of the species, and its restricted range, all the remaining habitat of the species is significant for its conservation. Once thought to occur from Palm Springs to Indian Wells in the Coachella Valley, the species still survives in only two populations in a small area in the southern part of Palm Springs. Remaining habitat consists of just 600 acres scattered in nine isolated fragments, primarily on private lands, and is actively shrinking due to the rapid pace of development in the area.
“Clearly, habitat protection is the most important conservation measure for the Casey’s June beetle,” said Peter Galvin, the Center’s conservation director. “Unfortunately today’s decision does little to stop the loss of habitat for this species in an area of California that is experiencing explosive growth.”
To date, the Bush government has protected only 58 species under the Endangered Species Act, compared to 512 under the Clinton administration and 231 under Bush senior’s administration. It has delayed and denied protection for hundreds of known imperiled species. Such “warranted but precluded” determinations are allowed under the Act only if the administration can demonstrate that it is making “expeditious progress” in protecting other species. In today’s decision the Fish and Wildlife Service stated that it expects to make progress on a mere 40 species in the next two years.
Description: Casey’s June beetles are medium-sized June beetles (June beetles are named after their tendency to fly in late spring evenings), 1.4 to 1.8 cm (0.55 to 0.71 inches) in length, dusty brown or whitish in color with appearance of brown and whitish longitudinal stripes on the elytra. Their reddish-brown antennae are clubbed, as is common to scarab beetles. The clubbed ends consist of a series of leaf-like plates that can be held together or fanned out to sense scents. Most of the body has a covering of whitish scales, supplemented on much of the head, thorax and ventral surfaces with fine, white hairs.
Reproduction: Adults emerge from holes in the ground to mate in late March through June, peaking usually in mid to late May. Females have rarely been found, and always on the ground, not in flight. The males fly swiftly over the ground from about one hour before dusk to shortly after dark, sometimes in a searching pattern, to look for females. Females emerge from the ground near dusk and either remain at the end of their “burrows” or crawl over the ground. As dusk progresses, females turn downward in the burrow entrance and extend the tip of their abdomen slightly above the burrow opening, presumably exuding a pheromone that the males use to find them. After mating, the female retreats down her emergence hole or digs a new hole and deposits eggs within damp sand at varying depths, commonly 5 to 20 cm or more below the dry sand/wet sand interface. The damp sand provides consistent temperatures and humidity that prevents desiccation of eggs and larvae.
For a copy of the petition, see http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/species/casey/petition.pdf.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with more than 35,000 members dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild lands.
David Wright is an ecologist and consultant with a background in entomology.
The Sierra Club's members are more than 700,000 of your friends and neighbors. Inspired by nature, we work together to protect our communities and the planet. The Club is America's oldest, largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.