Central Texas arachnids to remain on endangered species list after review

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The US Fish and Wildlife Service said on Tuesday that arachnids, found only in Central Texas, will remain on the list of endangered species after a comprehensive review.

The Bonecave Reaper, a relative of the spider, lives only in the underground habitats of the Balcone Canyons in parts of Travis and Williamson counties. The blind cave arachnid was listed as an endangered species in 1988 due to habitat destruction from urbanization to keep up with population growth in the region.

In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received a petition requesting that the Bone Cave logger be removed from the endangered species list due to restoration efforts and data collection issues. In addition, more evidence was offered in 2019 to support the removal of arachnids from the list of endangered species, the Service said.

“A review of the best available scientific and commercial information on past, present and future threats to this species indicates that the bonecave harvester is critically endangered throughout its range and meets the ESA definition of an endangered species.” This is stated in the message of the service.

The endangered status of this arachnid has caused problems for some property owners and developers in the past. Since it is endangered, if one owns land where the spider occurs naturally, the property owner must preserve its habitat in accordance with federal laws.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation joined the lawsuit in 2015 with the American Freedom Stewards to represent a Williamson County rancher who owned some of the rare arachnids.

A case that could change the Endangered Species Act was thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2021.

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