WASHINGTON (CN) – The Thorne’s hairstreak butterfly, found only in the Otay Mountain area of San Diego County, Calif., will receive a 12-month status review under the Endangered Species Act, according to a 90-day finding released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The agency found that a petition submitted to list the butterfly as threatened or endangered contained substantial scientific information indicating that listing may be warranted.
The finding reverses a 2006 90-day finding on the petition, submitted by the Center for Biological Diversity, which stated that it lacked sufficient information to warrant a full review.
The Center challenged the agency’s action, and the agency agreed in October 2009, to conduct a new 90-day review of the original petition and to include data collected by the agency since 2006.
The petition argues that the Thorne’s hairstreak butterfly is threatened by loss of its Tecate cypress forest habitat by fires, both natural and caused by human encroachment. The most recent fire destroyed 45,000 acres of Tecate cypress and the Center for Biological Diversity believes that a single large fire could terminate the species.
The agency requests public input on all aspects of the Thorne’s hairstreak butterfly as well as that of the Tecate cypress.