A subspecies of silver spot butterflies native to Utah is in danger of going extinct if urgent action isn’t taken soon.

The announcement regarding the endangered species came from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act.

This variation of silver spot butterflies can be found in eastern Utah and parts of Colorado and New Mexico. The insect is identified by its silvery-white spots found on the underside of its wings which span up to 3 inches in length. Females have cream coloring while males are bright orange.

This butterfly subspecies is now endangered due to various factors that are quite common among other species in danger of extinction.

Factors like habitat loss due to human interference, changes to water sources, climate change, and needless weed burning cause the loss of this insect species.

A press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service summarized the situation.

The press release said, “While the silverspot butterfly is not in immediate danger of extinction, the best available scientific information indicates that it is likely in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.”

According to the information in the press release, the endangered subspecies of butterflies is documented in ten populations across eastern Utah, southwestern Colorado, and northern New Mexico. The insect can be found at elevations of 5,200 to 8,300 feet.

The press release said, “The silverspot requires moist, open meadows with vegetation for shelter. Herbaceous plants are also crucial as nectar sources, which provide energy to adults for mating and flying. This butterfly has an annual life cycle and lays eggs on, or immediately next to, the bog violet…that the larvae feed on exclusively. The eggs hatch approximately two weeks after being laid in September, and the larvae immediately drink or absorb water before going dormant until May. When the bog violets flower in May, the larvae feed on them exclusively through July. They then form a chrysalis and metamorphize into adult butterflies, living for about 45 days to lay their eggs in September.”

If you’d like to learn more about the Utah silverspot butterfly, then check out the full press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by clicking here.


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