Butterfly’s protection status to be assessed
A 90-day review shows the Thorne’s hairstreak butterfly may qualify for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced.
The agency plans to conduct an in-depth assessment before making a final decision. Thorne’s hairstreak butterflies are found exclusively in the Otay Mountain area of southern San Diego County.
Threats to the species include wildfire and habitat fragmentation. The butterflies have reddish-brown wings with dark-brown shading. They lay eggs on Tecate cypress trees, which are found primarily on north-facing slopes and along moist canyons and drainages.
Thorne’s hairstreaks have been considered for listing two other times since 1991. In both instances, the Fish and Wildlife Service said protections weren’t warranted.
The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity and conservationist David Hogan challenged the service’s most recent determination, made in 2006. The agency agreed to launch a new review.
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