1. The overarching goal of United States wildlife action plans is to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered or declining to levels where recovery becomes unlikely. Effective plan implementation depends on establishing Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN), defined as wildlife species with small or declining populations or other characteristics that make them vulnerable. 2. Although nearly two-thirds of distinct Odonata species known from the U.S. (441 species as of 2005) were appointed as SGCN, over half the states neglected to assign dragonfly SGCN, damselfly SGCN, or both. Western and southern states listed proportionately fewer odonate SGCN than states of the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, and New England regions, apparently reflecting geographic patterns of legal authority, available information, and involvement by Odonata specialists. 3. Greater consultation of Odonata specialists is encouraged in any revision of state wildlife action plans, along with increased: (i) use of existing conservation lists, (ii) inferences from field guides and major faunal synopses, (iii) recognition of patterns of endemism, and (iv) application of empirical species distribution modelling. 4. Legal and management restrictions aside, insects and other invertebrates are often neglected in mainstream conservation efforts because they are perceived as understudied. It is erroneous to assume 'not enough information' exists for well-studied microfauna such as Odonata and doing so further undermines the conservation of less conspicuous and charismatic taxa.
- Rare species
- United States
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science