Beetle Found Only In Arizona Declared Extinct

By Casey Kuhn
Published: Thursday, October 6, 2016 - 7:33pm
Updated: Friday, October 7, 2016 - 9:54am
(Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
A scientific drawing of the Stephan's riffle beetle.

The Santa Rita mountains outside of Tucson are known worldwide for their biological diversity and unique creatures. One of those creatures has been declared extinct Thursday.

The Stephan’s riffle beetle isn’t an extraordinary beetle. It’s brown, tiny and has dozens of little black dots on its wings.

But, you won’t be able to see them anymore. The last one was spotted in 1993 and U.S. Fish and wildlife service announced they are officially extinct. Its existence likely goes back thousands of years.

The beetle lived in two springs in Madera Canyon in Arizona, a habitat the Center for Biological Diversity said was degraded by livestock grazing, spring water piping and hiking trails.

The center says after U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identified the Stephan's riffle beetle as needing conservation in 1984, the agency wasn’t able to give it endangered species act protection.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been modified to correct the year the beetle was last seen.

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