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Endangered Species Conservation

A monarch nectars on pink and white milkweed blossoms in this very detailed close-up image.
(Photo: Xerces Society / Stephanie McKnight)

Invertebrates form the foundation of many of our terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and yet they are greatly underappreciated in mainstream conservation. Destruction of habitat, pesticides, disease, and climate change are all factors leading to the decline of invertebrate species. To conserve and restore the diversity of life on earth, the Xerces Society’s endangered species conservation program engages in education, research, community science (sometimes referred to as "citizen science," or "participatory science"), conservation planning, and advocacy to protect at-risk species and their habitats. We collaborate with scientists and land managers to raise awareness about the plight of invertebrates and to gain protection for the most vulnerable species before they decline to a level at which recovery is impossible.

 

Our Work

Learn more about the key species that we're working to protect and recover:

 

Learn More

Community Science

Everyone is welcome to join these collaborative data-gathering efforts—no technical expertise necessary!

At-Risk Invertebrates

Learn more about the conservation statuses of the animals we seek to protect.

Identification and Field Guides

View guides for identification and further study in the field.

What We're Doing

We're conducting field research, developing habitat management guidance, advocating for protection for key species, and more.

Endangered Species Conservation on the Blog

The latest news from the Xerces Society's endangered species conservation team—including updates from the field, policy work, opportunities to participate in community science, and more!

During the 24th Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count, nearly 100 volunteers carefully surveyed groves of trees on the California and Northern Baja coast for monarch butterflies. Despite the challenges of conducting field work during a pandemic, volunteers surveyed 246 sites, three more than last year. Unfortunately, to the surprise and dismay of many, only 1,914 monarchs were counted at all the sites. This is a shocking 99.9% decline since the 1980s.

Fire has always been part of the ecosystems of the western United States, but the fires we are experiencing now are bigger and hotter than they used to be. This is partly because of years of fire suppression, but is also a result of the changing climate. Invertebrates from caddisflies to slugs to bees and butterflies are likely negatively affected, but we still have much to learn about the effects on these populations.

This edition focuses on work done across the country to support monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Jessa Kay Cruz describes how Xerces supports groups in California undertaking habitat creation projects, and Jennifer Hopwood presents a series of fact sheets about milkweeds, part of a nationwide project to provide information to roadside managers.