(Photo by Kevin Enge, via USFWS)
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced in a "90-day finding" today that the Striped Newt (Notophthalmus perstriatus) may warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act, a finding that comes after an initial review of a proposal for listing of the species for federal protection. The next step in this process will be a thorough review of the species' conservation status, which will then determine whether or not it can be officially proposed for listing under the ESA. In a nutshell, this finding acts as the catalyst for the initation of long process of review and proposals for listing. In the meantime, the USFWS is soliciting scientific and commercial info on the striped newt in order to go forward with its status review (see the press release here for more info).
For a bit of background info, the striped newt is a small Coastal Plain endemic that is specialized for survival in longleaf-pine dominated habitats with small, shallow, temporary ponds - two types of habitat that have greatly disappeared from the Southeast in recent decades.
(h/t Katie Dunn for the press release)