Two Prairie Butterflies Gain Endangered Species Act Protection in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Dakotas
MINNEAPOLIS— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today protected two rare prairie butterflies under the Endangered Species Act. Protection for the Dakota skipper results from a landmark 2011 settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity to speed protection decisions for 757 imperiled plants and animals across the country. The Service added the Poweshiek skipperling to the listing rule because it is highly endangered and shares habitat with the skipper. Both of the inch-long, brown-and-orange butterflies were once found in eight states in the Midwest and Great Lakes region but declined due to loss of native prairie habitat.
“It’s great news that these remarkable little butterflies now have the Endangered Species Act protection that will save them and their beautiful prairie homes,” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center.
Both butterflies are threatened by loss of native prairie vegetation to agriculture, development, altered fire patterns and groundwater depletion. They are also threatened by pesticides, drought and climate change.
Contact: Tierra Curry
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Banner photo courtesy Flickr/Lalo Pangue; Poweshiek skipper photo by DaveCuthrel, MSU, USFWS