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Colorful Florida Butterfly Receives Protections at Last

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Colorful Florida Butterfly Receives Protections at Last

From Center for Biological Diversity
April 2012

miami blue butterfly endangeredThe Miami blue butterfly -- with just a few hundred of its kind believed left in the wild -- is finally protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The butterfly spent 28 years on the list of candidates for protection but this week, as part of the Center for Biological Diversity's landmark agreement to push 757 species toward protection, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized its protections. The sun-loving coastal butterfly is so endangered it was thought extinct in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew devastated south Florida, but today we know there are at least a few that survived.

The butterfly's severe decline is primarily the result of urban sprawl and toxic chemical use, as well as climate change and invasive iguanas devouring its host plants. The adult butterflies only live for a few days before dying and its only the males who sport the remarkable blue that gives the species its name -- the females look quite drab in comparison (but are still, of course, exquisite and important insects).

The Service also finalized Endangered Species Act protection for the cassius blue, ceraunus blue and nickerbean blue butterflies, three species found in the same habitat as the Miami blue, because of their similarity in appearance to the Miami blue.