Thursday, February 7, 2013

One of the Rarest Butterflies on Earth

I thought people would enjoy this as much as I did.

My cousin, Clay Speas, sent along some photos of one of the rarest butterflies in the world.  They live in the forest where he is a park ranger. The butterfly (Uncompahgre Fritillary butterfly) is known to occur in 13 small colonies just below 14,000 ft peaks in Colorado.  Each colony exists in a 2-5 acre area.  Their preferred habitat is snowberry.  The butterfly emerges from their cocoon in June through July, flies around for a few days, breed, and dies.  Their eggs survive through the long winters on the backside of snowberry leaves.

Rangers have been monitoring these 13 colonies for the past 10 years since there are fewer than 2,000 - 3,000 butterflies known to exist. They are an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.

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