BETHANY BEACH, Del. (AP) — Environmental groups are hoping a rare bug found only along Delaware's southern coast will become the first firefly on the federal endangered species list.
They say the Bethany Beach Firefly and its unique freshwater wetland habitat face threats including coastal development and sea level rise.
Their petition for endangered species status says the firefly faces extinction from the imminent destruction of a major portion of its habitat. It specifically notes construction of beach homes in a wetland where the firefly was once found to thrive. The developer avoided the need to get a federal permit to fill in the wetland by building an unusual elevated wooden access road on top of pilings.
A state biologist currently surveying several locations in the Bethany Beach area has found about a dozen fireflies at four sites.