Protection sought for 32 endangered species "at the knife's edge of extinction"

Conservation group WildEearth Guardians has filed an emergency petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect 32 rare plant and animal species "at the knife's edge of extinction."

All 32 species -- some of which may already be extinct -- were originally part of larger petitions to protect 674 species filed with the FWS in 2006 and 2007. Those filings have not yet yielded a response.

Many of the species on the list exist in tiny habitats, often smaller than one acre, that could easily be wiped out by a single natural or man-made disaster.

The list of species includes:

Isoperla jewetti -- a stonefly last seen in 1980 and believed to be extinct

Brown's microcylloepus riffle beetle (Microcylloepus browni) -- the species exists in a single habitat just 35 square meters in size

Scott optioservus riffle beetle (Optioservus phaeus) -- the species lives in a single area less than 1 acre in size in Kansas

Drummond mountainsnail (Oreohelix sp. 4) -- this species' only known habitat is just 6 feet long

Cylindrical vertigo (Vertigo binneyana) -- this snail may already be extinct

Salina mucket (Potamilus metnecktayi) -- a freshwater mussel, just three individuals were found in 2003, and may have been the last of their species

Texas grease bush (Glossopetalon texense) and many-flowered unicorn-plant (Proboscidea spicata) -- these plants were last seen in 1967

Will FWS respond to this petition? To be honest, it seems unlikely. But hope springs eternal -- unlike most of these species.

You can read WildEarth Guardians' entire petition in PDF form here.