Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Butterfly on the brink - Miami-Dade -

 by Curtis Morgan

Photo from: Cornell U article below
Another Florida species to go extinct in our lifetime?  Interested readers will learn that:Decades ago, hundreds of Schaus swallowtails — hand-sized butterflies with brown-black wings accented by swirls of yellow – would typically be in the area called Petrel Point at this time of year, slowly flitting along trail edges and around the torchwood and wild lime trees that are prime “host plants” where they lay their eggs.

Last year, 35 were spotted on Elliott, another six in Key Largo. This year, they’re even fewer and very far between – five sightings overall since May 11, only three confirmed.

Because butterfly pupae can survive dormant for several years, biologists can mount capture efforts again if they strike out in this waning flight season. But without some boost from captive breeding, the Schaus could be fast slipping toward extinction.

Additional information from Cornell University, Insect Conservation Biology on the Papilio aristodemus ponceanus, Shaus Swallowtail Butterfly 

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