(Florida Leafwing, photographed by Holly L. Salvato)
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South Florida is the subject of this week’s series on the Butterfly Habitat Network (BHN) regional locations, where we have numerous species that are at risk and need our help. Two federally listed species have been mismanaged: Schaus’ Swallowtail & the Miami Blue. Their habitats were managed in ways that met other priorities rather than the butterflies (building picnic areas, etc). NABA’s American Butterflies publication has a great overview: http://www.naba.org/pubs/ab213_4/ab213_4_South_Florida_Imperiled_Butterflies.pdf
Let’s take a closer look at some of these species.
Miami Blue (Cyclargus thomasi)
One of NABA’s own southeast Florida chapters is named after them: http://miamiblue.org/. This gorgeous butterfly is also the current symbol of the BHN.
If you haven’t already, check out our excellent article on this threatened species on our website: http://www.naba.org/miamiblue.html
Schaus’ Swallowtail (Papilio aristodemus)
Called one of Florida’s rarest butterflies by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Schaus’ Swallowtail has previously received grants from NABA to conserve this endangered species. Here’s the FWS fact sheet on them: https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pubs/facts/schaus_swallowtail_fs.pdf
(Schaus’ Swallowtail, photographed by Holly L. Salvato)
Here is Jaeson Clayborn discussing the Habitat Enhancement project at Biscayne National Park: http://miamiblue.org/schaus-swallowtail-habitat/
(Check out this gem of an email I found from the Yale.edu website: http://mailman.yale.edu/pipermail/leps-l/2002-May/007673.html It discusses both the Miami Blue and Schaus’ Swallowtail and some of NABA’s early efforts to conserve them in the area)
Florida Leafwing (Anaea troglodyta)
Pictured above, check out the WeButterfly beta page on this species: https://www.webutterfly.org/beta/Species/Details/1013 from that link:
“This species is in danger of becoming extinct, because its rock pineland habitat in southern Florida and the Keys has largely disappeared and because of the misuse of anti-mosquito sprays, which kill these and other endangered butterflies, and subject the people of the area to toxic chemicals that endanger their health and that of their children. Some treat this butterfly as a subspecies of Tropical Leafwing.”
Here’s a short pieces by Mark Salvato on Leafwings: http://www.naba.org/pubs/ab161/amb161Florida_Leafwing_frass.pdf
Bertram Scrub-Hairstreak (Strymon acis)
(Photo by Linda Evans)
Here’s a great blog post from Linda Evans with pictures from Hank Poor on the Bertram Scrub-Hairstreak’s nectar plants for this endangered species: http://miami-blue-chapter-naba.blogspot.com/2010/07/nectar-plants-for-bartrams-scrub.html
Zestos Skipper (Epargyreus zestos ) – Unfortunately now extinct in this area
Sadly the Zestos Skipper has vanished from South Florida, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believes they are likely extinct here. If we don’t act to conserve these endangered and threatened species, they may wind up like the Zestos Skipper! Here are some pieces from the Miami Blue chapter site on it: