Damselflies in distress


POSTED: Thursday, July 09, 2009

Two species of Hawaiian damselflies on the brink of extinction are being proposed for federal endangered status by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Public comment is being accepted until Sept. 8 to protect the flying earwig Hawaiian damselfly and the Pacific Hawaiian damselfly — insects found nowhere else in the world, a release said.

“;We realize the fate of Hawaiian damselflies depends on protecting, restoring and maintaining the natural health of Hawaii's streams and water systems,”; said Gina Shultz, acting field supervisor of the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office.

Damselflies and dragonflies are known collectively as pinao by native Hawaiians. Damselflies have slender bodies and hold their wings above the body while at rest, while dragonflies are stout-bodied and hold their wings perpendicular to their body, a release said.

The public comment period will be open for 60 days. The Fish and Wildlife Service is especially interested in anything that threatens the damselflies; their range, distribution and population sizes and activities that affect areas occupied by these species.

Historically found on the islands of Hawaii and Maui, the flying earwig has not been seen on Hawaii for more than 80 years. The Pacific Hawaiian damselfly is found on Molokai, Maui and Hawaii island.

Comments can be sent to http://www.regulations.gov or mailed to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R1-ES-2009-0036, Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222, Arlington, VA 22203. Copies of the proposed rule may be downloaded at www.fws.gov/pacificislands.

For further information, contact Gina Shultz, acting field supervisor, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Ala Moana, Room 3-122, Box 50088, Honolulu, HI 96850; telephone 792-9400; or fax 792-9581.