Agency Won’t Protect|California Butterflies

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that the petitions to list the unsilvered fritillary butterfly and the Thorne’s hairstreak butterfly as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act do not provide enough information indicating that listing may be warranted.




     The findings are a response to a complaint filed in March 2009, by the Center for Biological Diversity and David Hogan challenging the agency’s decision not to list the Thorne’s hairstreak butterfly under the act, and a January 2010 petition by the WildEarth Guardians to protect the unsilvered fritillary butterfly.
     The unsilvered fritillary butterfly lays single eggs on fallen leaves and twigs near violets, and newly hatched caterpillars eat the violet leaves. Habitat threats to this butterfly include growing human populations, urban sprawl, crop and livestock agriculture, and increased droughts. Climate change has taken and will take its toll on this fritillary, through altered fire regimes, more severe and frequent droughts, and shifts in native plant distribution, according to the WildEarth Guardians.
     The Thorne’s hairstreak butterfly’s habitat is inside the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Otay Mountains Wilderness, in San Diego County, Calif., but it is still moving toward extinction as it has been for twenty years, according to Center for Biological Diversity. The butterfly is dependent on the rare Tecate cypress for survival, and one fire could annihilate the hairstreak. Thorne’s hairstreak and Tecate cypress also are endangered by prescribed fire, livestock grazing, vehicle access, recreation, global climate change, and delayed federal protection, according to the group.

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