BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. officials are reconsidering whether federal protections are needed for a rare, cold-water insect after scientists confirmed its presence in previously-unknown locations in Wyoming and Montana.
Government biologist Jim Boyd said Wednesday that climate change remains a concern for the western glacier stonefly despite the new findings.
The winged insects live along streams fed by melting snowfields.
They previously were known to exist only in and near Glacier National Park along the Montana-Canada border. They’ve recently been confirmed in southern Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and northern Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.
The stonefly was proposed for protections under the Endangered Species Act last year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A decision on whether protections still are warranted is expected in early 2018.