WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the Miami blue butterfly as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
It also has listed four similar looking species as threatened, to help protect the Miami blue.
The USFWS gave federal protection to the butterflies in 2011 on an emergency basis, because it believed the Miami blue could go extinct within three years. Today’s action makes permanent the emergency listing.
One of the principal threats to the species is collection for commercial purposes, which is why the USFWS prohibits the collection of the cassius, ceraunus, and nickerbean blue butterflies within the historical range of the Miami blue.
The Miami blue is distinguished from the ceraunus blue, the cassius blue and the nickerbean blue by its very broad white band, the dorsal turquoise color, the orange-capped eyespot on the hind wings, and four black spots across the basal hind wing.