As per the Endangered Species Act, last month the United States designated 32 critical habitat areas for the endangered Hawaii picture-wing fly. Over half of the 9,000 designated acres across five Hawaiian islands is federal property.
The flies are over twice the size of common houseflies and are known for their unique markings on their wings. They have been shown to carry an antibiotic-resistant bacteria which researchers believe could be used to develop cures for diseases like cancer and the bird flu.
The United States determined that 11 species of the picture-wing flies deserved endangered species classification in 2006, while one type has been listed as threatened. They’ve been put at risk by non-native predators like yellow-jackets and by invasive species like feral pigs which eat native plants that the flies feed on.
The 9,000 acres excludes 450 acres of land owned by Maui Land and Pineapple Company because the area has been preserved by the landowners for over 15 years.
The habitat protection is actually somewhat loose, but any federal agency that plans to undertake any development in the area that could potentially harm the fly species must seek approval beforehand.