Endangered Blue Butterfly Gets Protection
One of the rarest butterflies in the world lives just outside Las Vegas. A small creature, barely an inch long, the Mount Charleston blue butterfly – named for its restricted territory – is so endangered only 100 are known to survive.
For this reason, construction near Las Vegas has its limits as an eight square mile piece of butterfly habitat is now slated to be preserved as a refuge.
The Center for Biological Diversity and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have agreed to set aside what amounts to a little over five thousand acres of prime blue butterfly land. The habitat is squarely within the Spring Mountain National Recreation area, so not all development projects will be curtailed. The protection simply means more hurdles to jump for any type of development process, and discouragement of bug collecting, particularly netting butterflies.
The larger species includes the Shasta blue butterfly, first identified in the 1920s. In 1928, the Mount Charleston sub-species was discovered. The color of this modest pollinator is a very subtle shade of blue bordering on gray.
The butterfly refuge will include the type of terrain ideal for this species life cycle: open forest, little underbrush, and access to mineralized soil – as well as nectar plants like milkvetch for food.