The latest victim of climate change and disappearing habitat isn’t a large mammal or rare fish species, but instead, two stonefly species native to Glacier National Park in Montana, according to a rule published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

According to Montana Public Radio, “The western glacier stonefly and the meltwater lednian stone fly depend on glacial meltwater in high-elevation alpine environments. But scientists estimate the famed ice masses and snowfields of Glacier National Park will have mostly disappeared by 2030.” The ongoing loss of these populations will have lasting effects that are felt throughout the park’s food-web, and their current declination can be directly attributed to shifting climate conditions which have impacted snow-pack and glacial melt rate.

Clint Muhlfeld, a research aquatic ecologist with the United States Geological Survey had this to say regarding the 2 species, “These species might be some of the first that go extinct because of climate change. They are literally the polar bears of Glacier National Park. Clint has studied the two stonefly species for a decade and a half and his research informed Wednesday’s listing decision.

To read more about the western glacier and meltwater lednian stoneflies, check out Montana Public Radio’s in-depth article here!

Source: Montana Public Radio

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