National Geographic : 2019 Oct
3. 5. 56 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC THREAT: HABITAT LOSS Butterflies can fly long distances and feed on many types of flowers, but caterpillars are locavores, eating plants they hatch on or near. As those plants are lost to development or farming, butterflies disappear. The ones here aren’t listed by the IUCN—which has evaluated only 8,100 insect species—but are considered at risk by other authorities. 1. Atossa fritillary, Speyeria adiaste atossa (NE) This California butterfly lost habitat to grazing and drought and is considered to be extinct. The last live one was seen in the wild in 1960. 2. Atala butterfly, Eumaeus atala (NE) In the mid-1900s this butterfly from Florida and islands to the south and east was considered extinct. Now its host, a palmlike plant called coontie, has become popular in orna- mental gardens, and the butterfly is starting to rebound. 3. Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus (NE) Some migratory monarchs depend on habitat in Mexico, the U.S., and Canada for their life cycle, which means conserva- tion requires international cooperation. The milkweed their larvae eat is being lost to industrial farming and develop- ment; illegal logging in Mexico threatens their winter range. 4. Schaus’ swallowtail, Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus (NE) A Florida native, the Schaus’ swallowtail was down to as few as four individuals by 2012 due to habitat loss. Conservation has raised numbers to around a thousand; continuing threats include hurricanes, insecticide use, and climate change. 5. Florida leafwing butterfly, Anaea troglodyta floridalis (NE) The only surviving population of this critically endangered species lives in Everglades National Park. 6. Malayan tree nymph, Idea lynceus (NE) Though not yet on the IUCN Red List, this large butterfly has been the focus of Malaysian conservation efforts. They include programs to breed the insect as well as the rare plant the caterpillar feeds on. 1, 2, 4, 5: MCGUIRE CENTER FOR LEPIDOPTERA AND BIODIVERSITY, FLORIDA MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 3: NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDEN, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 6: MALACCA BUTTERFLY & REPTILE SANCTUARY, MALAYSIA 1.