Butterfly decline signals trouble in environment

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Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013 8:37 am | Updated: 12:37 am, Thu Aug 22, 2013.

Butterflies are the essence of cool in the insect world, a favorite muse for poets and songwriters, who hold them up as symbols of love, beauty, transformation and good fortune. But providing good fortune apparently goes only one way. As humans rip apart woods and meadows for housing developments and insecticide-soaked lawns, butterflies across the country are disappearing.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that two brown, mothlike butterfly subspecies are probably extinct in South Florida, which some entomologists say is ground zero for the number of butterfly species on the verge of annihilation.

The rockland grass skipper went missing in 1999, and the Zestos skipper hasn’t been seen since 2004. Several other species, such as the ebony-and-ivory-colored Schaus swallowtail, are listed as endangered, and many others are threatened, including the silvery Bartram’s hairstreak.

Read more at the Washington Post

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