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Beetle Gets Second Chance

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American burying beetle at the St. Louis Zoo's Monsanto Insectarium.

American burying beetle at the St. Louis Zoo’s Monsanto Insectarium.

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — An endangered species of beetle will be reintroduced in southwest Missouri on June 5.

The St. Louis Zoo and its partners have set that date to reintroduce around 300 American burying beetles at Wah’ Kon-Tah Prairie. The project is jointly managed by the zoo, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Missouri Department of Conservation and The Nature Conservancy.

The nocturnal beetles spend most of their lives underground. They’re up to an inch-and-a-half long, with shiny black bodies and orange-red markings.

Experts call them “one of nature’s recyclers,” which is a nice way of saying they live off dead animals.

The American burying beetle was once found in 35 U.S. states and southern Canada. In 1989, it became the first insect designated as a federally endangered species.

© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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