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Action timeline

1984 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the Hermes copper butterfly as a Category 2 candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

May 27, 1991 – The San Diego Biodiversity Project petitioned the Service to list the Hermes copper and Thorne’s hairstreak butterflies as endangered.

July 19, 1993 – The Service rejected the first petition to list the Hermes copper and Thorne’s hairstreak butterflies on a technicality, alleging that the document lacked necessary information (while simultaneously admitting to already possessing this same information). While the Service promised to conduct a status review, there is no evidence that it did so.

February 27, 1996 – The Hermes copper’s Category 2 candidate status was removed when the Service unilaterally abolished the Category 2 candidates list.

October 25, 2004 – The Center submitted a petition to list the Hermes copper and Thorne’s hairstreak under the Endangered Species Act.

October 18, 2005 – The Center filed suit against the Service for failing to respond to the group’s petitions to list the Hermes copper and Thorne’s hairstreak butterflies.

August 8, 2006 – Despite the fact that Hermes copper butterfly populations had been devastated by habitat fragmentation, fire, and other threats that still posed a significant danger to the butterfly, the Service announced in its 90-day finding that it would not list the species under the Endangered Species Act.

March 17, 2009 – The Center filed a second suit against the Service seeking federal protection for the Hermes copper and Thorne’s hairstreak butterflies.

October 26, 2009 – Through a legal settlement with the Center, the Service agreed to reconsider our petitions to protect the Hermes copper and Thorne’s hairstreak butterflies.

May 4, 2010 – As a result of a legal settlement with the Center, the Service announced that the Hermes copper warranted consideration as an endangered species.

April 13, 2011 – Responding to our petition and lawsuit, the Obama administration denied Endangered Species Act protection to the Hermes copper butterfly, instead placing it on the growing list of “candidate” species.


Photo © Douglas Aguillard