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Blue Butterfly Gets U.S. Protection

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Photo-Corey Kallstrom / USFWS

Photo-Corey Kallstrom / USFWS

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(LAS VEGAS, KXNT, ASSOCIATED PRESS)–Nevada’s iridescent Mount Charleston Blue Butterfly will get extra protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this weekend officially classified the delicate gray and baby blue insect as endangered.

Ecologist Rob Mrowka with the Center for Biological Diversity says the butterfly has been threatened by development and
fire suppression activities in the Mount Charleston area outside Las Vegas.

In a statement, Mrowka said,“This is great news for one of Nevada’s rarest species. The beautiful Mount Charleston blue butterfly is in desperate need of help and we’ve got to move quickly. Even before prime areas of habitat were severely damaged by this summer’s Carpenter 1 wildfire, there were very few of these butterflies left in the world.”

The Center says the species is limited to upper elevations of Mount Charleston in the federally-managed Spring Mountain National Recreation Area.

The butterfly thrives in open forest with exposed soil and little vegetation. Mrowka says this kind of habitat is becoming harder to find thanks in part to a Forest Service program that spreads woodchips on forest ground in an attempt to stop wildfires.

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