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Endangered beetle making comeback in Missouri

The Examiner

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has moved the American burying beetle, native to Missouri, from the endangered species list to the threatened species list, which indicates progress in the attempt to save the beetle from extinction. 

Small populations of beetles hatched at the Saint Louis Zoo have been released in recent years at the Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie and Taberville Prairie conservation areas in St. Clair County. 

The American burying beetle was once common in Missouri.

These beetles were once found across Missouri and in much of the United States, but the species has been endangered mostly from habitat loss.

The American burying beetle finds a partner, and the two dig a hole where they mate, lay eggs and raise their young. They also drag dead birds and other carrion for their young to feed on. These actions help with aeration and fertility of the soil in prairies and woodlands.

The Missouri Department of Conservation, the Saint Louis Zoo and the Nature Conservancy, continue to work toward restoring a sustainable population of these insects in Missouri. 

For more information, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z84 and https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z8o.

– Submitted to The Examiner