Endangered Species


Rusty patched bumble bee deserves protection, not delay

Published on March 2, 2017

On February 10, 2017, the rusty patched bumble bee was slated to receive the federal protection it so clearly deserves. Unfortunately, the Executive Order signed by the president on Inauguration Day freezing all new regulations while the new administration reviews “questions of fact, law, and policy” has unnecessarily delayed the implementation of this rule until Read more …


2017 Monarch Numbers Are Down, Lengthening a Worrying Trend

Published on February 9, 2017

The number of monarch butterflies overwintering was down this winter in both coastal California and in Michoacán, Mexico, according to recent announcements by the Xerces Society’s Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count and World Wildlife Fund–Mexico. In California, the Xerces Society’s Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count reported a total of 298,464 monarchs—a fraction of the 1.2 million reported Read more …


Rusty Patched Bumble Bee: The First Bee in the Continental US to be Protected Under the Endangered Species Act

Published on January 11, 2017

In response to a petition from the Xerces Society, on Wednesday, January 11, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a final rule to list the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, making it the first bee in the continental U.S. to be federally protected. This Read more …


Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Protected as an Endangered Species

Published on January 10, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contacts: Sarina Jepsen, Director of Endangered Species Program, Xerces; (971) 244-3727; sarina@xerces.org Rich Hatfield, Senior Conservation Biologist, Xerces; (503) 468-8405; rich@xerces.org Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Protected as an Endangered Species First bee in the continental U.S. is listed under the Endangered Species Act PORTLAND, Ore., January 10, 2017—Responding to a petition from Read more …


Western Freshwater Mussels: Unobtrusive, Invaluable—and on the Red List

Published on December 9, 2016

This week, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published the second update this year to the Red List of Threatened Species. The Red List is an important tool for biologists and policymakers because it highlights which species are at greatest risk of going extinct and can be used to set priorities for conservation. Read more …


Putting Mussels on Your Mind

Published on October 31, 2016

While marine life and pollinators are the focus of a lot of media and conservation attention, and deservedly so, freshwater mussels in the U.S. are also in trouble – in fact, they are amongst the most at-risk animals in the U.S. More than seventy percent of all species of North American freshwater mussels are considered Read more …


Western Glacier Stonefly, Photo: USGS

In a rapidly warming climate, imperiled species may have nowhere to run.

Published on September 30, 2016

The western glacier stonefly (Zapada glacier) takes the real estate mantra “location, location, location” seriously. In fact, their life depends on it. Making their home in the aquatic alpine ecosystem in the highest elevations of Glacier National Park, Montana, the species is uniquely adapted to thrive in the very cold, low-oxygen, nutrient poor environment provided Read more …


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes ESA protection for the rusty patched bumble bee

Published on September 21, 2016

In 2013 the Xerces Society petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as an endangered species. Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it is proposing to list the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. This is Read more …


Two Rare Species Spotted During Minn. Bumble Bee Survey

Published on July 31, 2016

Known to Dakota people as Oheyawahi, “the hill much visited,” Pilot Knob Hill in Mendota Heights, MN, lived up to its name when citizen scientists and eager volunteers gathered recently on the hill to hunt for some rare Minnesota species. Sarah Foltz Jordan of the Xerces Society, Elaine Evans of the University of MN Bee Read more …


2000 Mussels Cross the Road

Published on July 25, 2016

As two culverts are replaced to improve fish passage in Crystal Springs Creek (Westmoreland Park, Portland,  Ore.),  25 citizen-scientist volunteers and watershed specialists gathered to rescue freshwater mussels and relocate them upstream, out of the project area and out of harm’s way. Members of the Crystal Springs Partnership with guidance from the Xerces Society prepared Read more …


Island Marble Butterfly: Slipping Towards Extinction

Published on April 5, 2016

On Tuesday, April 5, 2016, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced that the island marble butterfly (Euchloe ausonides insulanus) is in danger of extinction but that protection under the Endangered Species Act is “precluded by higher priority listing actions.” The Service declined to grant this butterfly protection through an emergency listing process, Read more …


Surprises in the Field: Discovering a New Population of a Bog-Associated Butterfly

Published on December 22, 2015

One of the greatest thrills of fieldwork is finding an unexpected or undescribed species at a field site. As a conservation biologist who studies invertebrates, I probably get more than my fair share of new encounters. The numbers are certainly in my favor: invertebrates make up over 90 percent of all known animal species on Read more …


The Crystal Skipper: North Carolina’s Newest Butterfly Species

Published on December 3, 2015

The beautiful beaches of the central North Carolina coast, known as the Crystal Coast in tourist brochures, are well known to beachgoers, birdwatchers, and shell hunters. Less well known is a small brown butterfly living amongst the sand dunes which, until last week, had no official name; it has now been formally described in the Read more …


Hawai‘ian Yellow-Faced Bees: The First U.S. Bees Proposed for ESA Protection

Published on September 30, 2015

This summer, I had the pleasure of visiting Hawai‘i with my family. What a wonderful vacation! Beautiful beaches, kayaking, sea turtles, fresh pineapple, fabulous tropical gardens, volcanoes—but I also went in hunt of bees. I found bees in the gardens of the first place we stayed. But the carpenter bees and honey bees were not Read more …


Good News for the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

Published on September 21, 2015

Friday was a good day for the rusty patched bumble bee. After decades of declining populations and a nearly 90% contraction in range, it was given a glimmer of hope for a future: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a positive 90-day finding in response to an Endangered Species Act petition requesting listed as Read more …


Red Listing North America’s bumblebees

Published on July 22, 2015

This blog was originally posted on the IUCN Red List’s website This spring has been busy for bumblebee conservation in North America. Over the last several months I have been working with other IUCN SSC Bumblebee Specialist Group members to complete the IUCN Red List assessments of all North American bumblebees. In April, I also Read more …