WASHINGTON (CN) – The Pacific Hawaiian damselfly and flying earwig Hawaiian damselfly, which U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found to be at risk in 1984, have been listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Species protection was delayed due to higher priority listing candidates, even though the agency gave the insects high priority numbers.
Damselflies, distinguished from dragonflies by their folding wings, once were found throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Now they only exist in small populations in remote areas.
One population of the flying earwig Hawaiian damselfly is left, on Maui, and the Pacific Hawaiian damselfly only lives on Hawaii, Maui and Molokai.
Non-native species preying on the damselflies and loss of habitat due to urbanization are the greatest threats to the insects, according to the agency.
The agency has announced that critical habitat should be designated, but that it does not yet have enough information to complete the task. The agency will take up to a year to determine the physical or biological features essential for the recovery of either of the two species.
Information that may be useful in determining critical habitat may be sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.