Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, August 22, 2022


Patrick Donnelly, (702) 483-0449,

Nevada Legislative Committee Advances Bill Request for Managing Butterflies, Other Invertebrates

CARSON CITY, Nev.— The Nevada Legislative Joint Interim Standing Committee on Natural Resources today advanced a recommendation for a bill draft request to give the Nevada Department of Wildlife authority to manage and protect terrestrial invertebrates, including monarch butterflies and bees.

Nevada state law does not currently give any agency authority to manage non-pest insects or other terrestrial invertebrates. In addition to butterflies and bees, this gap includes other insects, slugs and snails, worms, and arachnids like tarantulas. The Nevada Department of Agriculture has authority over insects that qualify as pests.

The bill draft request asks Nevada’s Legislative Counsel Bureau to prepare a bill for the next session.

“Insect numbers are plummeting globally, and the Nevada Department of Wildlife needs to be able to manage and protect these species,” said Patrick Donnelly, Great Basin director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Butterflies, bees and other pollinators are the backbone of the desert ecosystem. This bill would give the state the authority it needs to address the many threats these creatures face.”

Nevada has more than 700 documented species of insects and ranks eighth in the nation for butterfly diversity. This extraordinary biodiversity is highly threatened — there are 109 species and subspecies of insects on the state’s “at-risk tracking list.” This includes iconic monarch butterflies, which were recently put on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List as endangered.

Invertebrates are threatened by numerous factors, including habitat loss, pesticides, groundwater exploitation, climate change and drought, and recreational pressures. Several Nevada invertebrates, including the bleached sandhill skipper and the Mojave poppy bee, are under consideration for Endangered Species Act protection.

“The insect extinction crisis has come to Nevada, and without the tools to conserve invertebrates, the state risks losing its wild ecosystems,” said Donnelly. “We applaud the Natural Resources Committee for taking this important step toward protecting pollinators and other invertebrates. We look forward to working with the committee and the Department of Wildlife to move forward with this critical legislation during the upcoming session.”

Monarch butterfly. Credit: John Buse/Center for Biological Diversity 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.

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