For Immediate Release, June 18, 2020

Contact:

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

Lawsuit Launched to Protect Tiny Florida Crayfish

Panama City Crayfish Threatened by Habitat Loss

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a formal notice of its intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency’s failure to finalize protections for the Panama City crayfish. The rare crayfish is threatened by habitat loss.

“The diminutive Panama City crayfish is an important part of the local ecosystem, and these animals desperately need federal protection,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director of the Center. “Tiny critters like the Panama City crayfish need some love too.”

The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers the Panama City crayfish endangered due to its limited range and habitat degradation. It is a 2-inch-long, tan-and-brown crayfish. Its only known habitat is the flatwoods and ponds and ditches of a small area of Bay County, where it’s threatened by groundwater depletion, development and pollution. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission considers it a species of special concern.

Small freshwater invertebrates like crayfish play an important role in their ecosystems. They improve water quality, create structures used by other animals, and provide food for larger animals. The Center is working to gain protection for hundreds of imperiled freshwater species in the southeastern United States, which is a global hotspot for both biodiversity and extinction.

The Center petitioned the Service to list the crayfish under the Endangered Species Act in 2010. It then sued in 2013 to compel the agency to make a proposed listing decision on the crayfish. The Service finally proposed listing the crayfish in 2018, but has failed to finalize that proposal.

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.