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Fish and Wildlife to Consider Listing Arapahoe Snowfly

Photo courtesy of Wild Earth Guardians
Photo courtesy of Wild Earth Guardians

Federal biologists say a rare, tiny insect found in northern Colorado may warrant protections under the Endangered Species Act.

The Arapahoe Snowfly’s footprint is believed to have been shrunk to just two tributaries of the Cache Le Poudre River in the mountains of northern Colorado.  Last year, environmental groups petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service to study whether to extend federal protections for the insect, which the agency announced Monday it is agreeing to do. 

The Arapahoe Snowfly is part of a larger classification of insects known as stoneflies.  Stoneflies thrive in cold, well-oxygenated streams, and biologists believe their existence in a waterway is commonly an indicator of water quality. 

The Fish and Wildlife Service will now solicit data from government agencies and other parties before deciding whether to list the insect, a process that has been known to take months, if not years. 

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.