Non-charismatic Endangered Species
Last week we had an interpretative training, which gave me the opportunity to read and instructed myself about the Oregon silverspot butterfly (Speyeria zerene hypotila), because we are having a couple table talks at the Portland Zoo and Oregon Aquarium in the next months. The populations of this species and specifically the Oregonian subspecies were listed as threatened species with critical habitat in 1980; the consequences of the decline of several species have a direct or indirect link to human disturbance as the cause, but they are disappearing before we even comprehend its complex phenology and ecological interactions. That is the case of the Oregon silverspot butterfly, there are parts of its development and disappearing causes that science has not yet had the opportunity to understand.
The historic range of this coastal butterfly subspecies was from South Washington to North California, restricted to the immediate coast around salt spray meadows. Currently the Oregon silverspot butterfly populations occurs in five sites in Oregon and one in California. This subspecies life history revolves around its obligatory host plant the early blue violet (Viola adunca) for feeding and successfully developing. Also, this sensitive subspecies needs a suitable habitat of grassland ecosystems with native plants (marine terrace, coastal headland salt-spray meadows, stabilized dunes, montane grasslands).
While I was doing my research I couldn’t stop thinking about the number of non-focus endangered species that are disappearing and because they aren’t essentially charismatic we barely know about them. That is the reason why I selected the photo of this moth (Euxoa auripennis) as my featured picture.