Outdoors

Angular dwarf crayfish won’t get Endangered Species Act protection

Angular dwarf crayfish
Angular dwarf crayfish USDA Forest Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will not add the Angular dwarf crayfish to the federal threatened and endangered species list.

The angular dwarf crayfish can be found in George County in Mississippi, and Baldwin, Mobile and Washington counties in Alabama. The species of crayfish, latin name Cambarellus Lesliei, is a member of the family Cambaridae, the largest of the freshwater crayfish families.

Measuring less than an inch long, the crayfish is one of the smallest species in the northern hemisphere. The crayfish is found in heavily vegetated ponds, sluggish streams and backwater areas. With an abundant habitat, the crayfish doesn’t face any significant threat. It’s the first time the crayfish was considered for the endangered species list.

“To receive Endangered Species Act protection, the species must be facing threats that would likely cause extinction or threaten existence in the foreseeable future,” the service’s Southeast Regional Director Cindy Dohner said in a press release. “They face little to no apparent threat or are the focus of ongoing conservation efforts enabling them to overcome threats.”

The ESA allows anyone to petition the service to include a species on its endangered species list. The decision on the crayfish came as the service worked through requests from outside groups.

The service takes a two-pronged approach of evaluating the petitions required by law and emphasizing conserving plants and animals before they need the protection of the Endangered Species Act.

Here are the other species that didn’t need protection from the ESA:

Clifton Cave beetle: The beetle is known from only two caves in Woodford County, Ky. Four individuals were discovered in nearby Richardson’s Spring Cave in 1994 where several beetles were observed again in 2015. The caves are in a rural landscape with no significant threats to the beetle.

Icebox Cave beetle: The beetle was discovered in 1963 in Icebox Cave, Bell County, Ky., its only known location. Search efforts in 2015 found the beetle persisting in the cave at numbers consistent with previous searches. This cave is also in a rural landscape with no significant threats to the beetle.

Virgin Islands coqui: The small frog was historically found on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. However, the species has not been seen sighted there since the 1970s.

James Jones: 228-896-2320, @_jkjones

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