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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service amends Pacific Island species names

Frank Bonaccorso
U.S. Geological Survey

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced technical corrections for 60 endangered or threatened species in the Pacific Islands.

The changes made by the federal agency include the correct usage of ʻokina and kahakō in Hawaiian species names. Species with Chamorro or Carolinian names were also edited to include diacritical marks.

The Pacific Island species names are referenced in official documents to better communicate with local conservation partners.

However, some publications like the Code of Federal Regulations will not display diacritics because they say they cannot accurately display the ʻokina.

The technical name changes also address updated studies on the classification of the species.

The ʻōpeʻapeʻa, or Hawaiian hoary bat, was thought to be more closely related to hoary bats found on the continental U.S. and was previously listed as an endangered subspecies with the scientific name Lasiurus cinereus semotus.

More recent analysis concluded ʻōpeʻapeʻa are full species, reclassifying them as Aeorestes semotus.

The nosaʼ Luta, or rota bridled white-eye, is a small bird endemic to Rota in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. While its scientific name continues to be accepted, its common name will be changed to Rota white-eye because new data shows it is a separate species and not a subspecies of the bridled white-eye, as previously thought.

The proposed changes will be open to public comment for 30 days. Written comments can be submitted at www.regulations.gov.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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