For Immediate Release, September 3, 2021

Contact:

Jaclyn Lopez, (727) 490-9190, jlopez@biologicaldiversity.org

Critical Habitat Proposed for Rare South Florida Beetle

Miami Tiger Beetle Is Threatened by Development, Sea-Level Rise

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— Following litigation by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act for the endangered Miami tiger beetle.

Found only in the pine rocklands of South Florida, one of the most imperiled habitats in the world, the tiger beetle was believed to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 2007.

“The Miami tiger beetle is small as a grain of rice but, for its size, fast like a cheetah,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center. “It’s a stunning example of Florida’s incredible biodiversity. This habitat protection is badly needed to ensure the last few patches of pine rockland aren’t destroyed so that tiger beetles and other unique South Florida plants and animals can survive.”

In response to a 2014 petition from the Center, the Service listed the Miami tiger beetle as endangered in 2016 but did not concurrently designate critical habitat as required by the Endangered Species Act.

The Center filed the petition after learning that an area known as the Richmond pine rocklands in south Miami was under immediate threat by proposals for a strip mall and waterpark. This area is where the beetle was rediscovered and contains the vast majority and largest single block of remaining habitat for the beetle, as well as several other endangered species. The strip mall has since been built, but not the waterpark, which would be adjacent to Zoo Miami.

The Miami tiger beetle is beautifully gem-like, with an emerald sheen. It is named for its aggressive, predatory behavior and strong mandibles. Today’s 1,977-acre proposal largely overlaps with designated critical habitat for Carter’s small-flowered flax, Florida brickell-bush, Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak butterfly and Florida leafwing butterfly.

RSMiami_tiger_beetle_Jonathan_Mays_FFWCC.jpg
Miami tiger beetle. Photo by Jonathan Mays, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.