Categorized | Environment

Endangered Species Act protection for 15 isle species


Fifteen species found on the island of Hawaii will be protected as endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced. The species include 13 plants, a picture-wing fly and an anchialine pool shrimp.

The Service will work cooperatively with state, federal and native Hawaiian partners, conservation organizations and private landowners to recover these species and conserve their habitat.

“The Service is implementing a landscape-based approach in Hawaii to better prioritize and focus conservation and recovery actions,” said Loyal Mehrhoff, the Service’s field supervisor for the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office. “The health of threatened and endangered species is linked to our own well-being. We can ensure a healthy future for our community and protect treasured landscapes for future generations by protecting our imperiled native fish, wildlife and plants.”

The 15 species are found in 10 ecosystem types on the island of Hawaii: anchialine pool (landlocked pool with a subterranean connection to the ocean), coastal, lowland dry, lowland mesic, lowland wet, montane dry, montane mesic, montane wet, dry cliff and wet cliff.

“This final listing rule is unique because it will be the first time in history an anchialine pool shrimp is included on the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants and Animals,” said Mehrhoff. “This species of shrimp is extremely rare, and until recently, the species had not been observed in the wild for more than 20 years. Currently, the species is known to occur in only five anchialine pools located along the coast of South Kona and Kau.”

Threats to these plants and animals include habitat destruction and modification caused by invasive nonnative plants and animals, agricultural and urban development, and consumption of rare species by nonnative feral pigs, sheep and goats, and other introduced species such as rats, nonnative fish, and nonnative invertebrates.

Dumping trash and the introduction of nonnative fish also pose threats to the anchialine pool shrimp. Native habitat is threatened by the effects of climate change, which may intensify existing natural threats such as fire, hurricanes, landslides and flooding.

Prior to the endangered species listing, other regulatory mechanisms were inadequate to protect the species.

The 13 plant species receiving endangered species status on Hawaii Island are Bidens hillebrandiana ssp. hillebrandiana and Bidens micrantha ssp. ctenophylla (aka kookoolau), Cyanea marksii (hh), Cyanea tritomantha (aku), Cyrtandra nanawaleensis and Cyrtandra wagneri (haiwale), Phyllostegia floribunda, Pittosporum hawaiiense (hoawa), Platydesma remyi, Pritchardia lanigera (loulu), Schiedea diffusa ssp. macraei, Schiedea hawaiiensis and Stenogyne cranwelliae.

The two animal species receiving endangered species status are Drosophila digressa (picture-wing fly) and Vetericaris chaceorum (anchialine pool shrimp).

In addition, the Service formally recognized the taxonomic name change for the listed endangered plant Caesalpinia kavaiense (uhiuhi) to Mezoneuron kavaiense.

The Service has proposed critical habitat for one of the 13 plant species (Bidens micrantha ssp. ctenophylla), as well as for two previously listed plant species (Isodendrion pyrifolium and Mezoneuron kavaiense) that do not have designated critical habitat and occur in the same ecosystem as Bidens micrantha ssp. ctenophylla.

The Service will publish the final critical habitat determination subsequent to this final listing determination.

The final rule was published Oct. 29, 2013 in the Federal Register.

Copies of the final rule may be downloaded at:

For more further information contact: Loyal Mehrhoff, Field Supervisor, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, Honolulu, Hawaii 96850; telephone (808)792-9400 or fax (808) 792-9581.

The Endangered Species Act provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife and plants. This landmark conservation law has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species across the nation and promoted the recovery of many others.

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