Tag Archives: Colorado

Isoperla jewetti Szczytko & Stewart

Grande Stripetail Stonefly (Isoperla jewetti)  

This species was described in 1976 from specimens that had been collected in 1939 from a single location in El Paso County, Texas, which is now completely destroyed by agriculture.  

The species is furthermore known from a single specimen collected in Huerfano County, Colorado, and from at least six nymph specimens that were collected in Dona Ana County, New Mexico.  

The Grande Stripetail Stonefly was not recorded since 1980 and is most likely extinct.  


edited: 31.10.2017

Iliamna crandallii (Rydb.) Wiggins

Crandall’s Wild Hollyhock (Iliamna crandallii)  

The genus Iliamna contains about seven species, all of which occur in North America.  


Crandall’s Wild Hollyhock is known from altogether five collections, which all were collected in the years before 1937 near the city of Steamboat Springs in Routt County in Colorado.  

The species is now considered most probably extinct.


edited: 15.10.2020

Melanoplus spretus (Walsh)

Rocky Mountain Locust (Melanoplus spretus)

The Rocky Mountain Locust inhabited a large range., including Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan in Canada and Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming in the USA.  

The full-grown adults reached lengths of about 3 cm.  


The species formerly formed seasonally swarms of giant sizes, which then devastated large areas of North America, destroying countless crops, and causing famines.  

It is said that the locust plague did not spared cotton clothing or leather when found, and it is furthermore claimed, that they may have even eaten wooden fencing posts.  

These last assertions, however, are probably pure fantasy.  


The last large swarms were recorded in the years between 1873 and 1877, the last specimens were finally collected in Manitoba, Canada in 1902.  

The reasons for the extinction of this once so common species are not well known, but it has been argued that plowing and irrigation by settlers in the Great Plains disrupted their natural life cycle in the areas they lived in, so it is reported that farmers destroyed over 150 egg cases per square inch while plowing, harrowing or flooding. [1]  



[1] Jeffrey A. Lockwood: Locust: The Devastating Rise and Mysterious Disappearance of the Insect that Shaped the American Frontier. New York: Basic Books 2004  


females laying eggs 
growth stages

Depictions from: ‘Francis Huntington Snow: The more destructive grasshoppers of Kansas. University of Kansas Bulletin of the Department of Entomology (Topeka, KS: J. S. Parks, October 1897)’

(not in copyright) 


edited: 13.03.2017

Cryptantha aperta (Eastw.) Payson

Grand Junction Cat’s-Eye (Cryptantha aperta)

The Grand Junction Cat’s-Eye was found only twice in 1892, both times somewhere around the city of Great Junction in Mesa County, Colorado, USA.

The original type locality is not really known, however, all presumed localities are more or less completely destroyed due to agricultural and urban development, the species was never found again and is considered most likely extinct.



Depiction from: “Edwin Blake Payson: A monograph of the section Oreocarya of Cryptantha. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 14(3): 211- 358. 1927”

(under creative commons license (3.0))


edited: 05.12.2018

Rorippa coloradensis Stuckey

San Luis Watercress (Rorippa coloradensis)  

The San Luis Watercress was described in 1972 on the basis of a herbarium specimen which had been collected in 1875 at some unknown locality in southern Colorado, USA

The species, which is quite conspicuous because of its rather large flowers, probably grew along the margins of lakes and rivers.

The San Luis Watercress is considered extinct. 



[1] Ronald L. Stuckey: Taxonomy and distribution of the genus Rorippa (Cruciferae) in North America. SIDA 4(4): 279-430. 1972


edited: 04.02.2020

Conuropsis carolinensis ssp. carolinensis (L.)

Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis ssp. carolinensis)

The Carolina Parakeet was one of only two parrot species that are truly native to the USA (the other one is the Thick-billed Parakeet (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha (Swainson)) which, however, is now extinct there and only survives in northern Mexico).

The Chickasaw people named the bird ‘kelinky’, the Seminoles again named it ‘pot pot chee’ or ‘puzzi la née’.

The species had a very wide distributional area in the southern USA, where it inhabited old-growth wetland forests along rivers and swamps. The parakeets had a preference for the seeds of the Rough Cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium L.) (see lso depiction below), a plant that contains toxic glucoside, making the flesh of the birds poisonous to predators (the American naturalist and painter John J. Audubon noted that cats apparently died from eating them).


The Carolina Parakeet was considered a crop pest and birds were shot by the thousands. Some also ended in the feather trade, in which it apparently was especially popular to dye the originally very colorful birds completely black – such blackened specimens are still kept in several museums.

The last known Carolina Parakeet, a male named Incas, died in the Zoo of Cincinnati, Ohio at February 21, 1918. Yet, in the wild the species apparently survived for several years longer, this can be assumed from eggs that are kept in a museum and that had been collected in Florida in the year 1927.


The Carolina Parakeet wasn’t particularly popular in the aviculture, especially because of its loud, harsh voice, however, the ornithologist Hans Freiherr von Berlepsch at the end of he 19th century kept a free-flying population in Germany which, being well-adapted to the European climate was thriving very well. This little population, that could have been the lifeline for the whole species, however, was shot by the innkeeper of a little pub in a neighboring village within only two days.


edited: 20.01.2020