The federal government will add the island marble butterfly to the endangered species list, eventually, after it gets through with protecting sea turtles.
The Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday that adding the dainty insect to the endangered or threatened species list is warranted, but it won't have the time to officially add it until later in the year. Apparently, there are so many animals vying to be on the list, the butterfly has to take a back seat.
The agency also set out a robust plan Tuesday to protect the green sea turtle, listing three out of 11 groups of the turtle species as endangered, while designating the others as "threatened."
Butterflies take a back seat.
"Currently, however, listing the island marble butterfly is precluded by higher priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants," a notice in Tuesday's Federal Register reads. Instead, the butterfly will be added to the agency's candidate list, like a runner-up to be endangered.
The next step after that will be to develop a proposed rule to list the island marble butterfly "as our priorities allow."But at least the butterfly is getting on the list. The agency denied a number of other species from being added to the endangered species list Tuesday, including a flying squirrel that lives near Los Angeles in San Bernardino; the American Samoa population of the spotless crake; and the Sprague's pipit.The crake and pipit are birds. The wildlife service says it encourages protection groups and environmentalists to keep it abreast of any changes to the species' habitats, where it may reconsider a designation in the future.