Endangered Butterflies Identified in Klamath-Siskiyou

Klamath-Siskiyou News, Issue 23
December 19, 2002

The Mardon skipper butterfly, found in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, had been petitioned for listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Xerces Society, an organization committed to invertebrate diversity and protection, filed the petition with the Fish and Wildlife Service last week.

The small tawny-orange butterflies have been found in the Soda Mountain area of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. They represent the only known Oregon population of the species. With more than 100 species found in the region, the Soda Mountain area has the most diverse species of butterflies in the West, possibly North America, according to scientists.

Other tiny populations are located in Del Norte County, Calif., and the southern Puget Sound and Mount Adams areas in Washington. Some populations of the Mardon skipper around Mount Adams have already have disappeared, mainly because of loss of habitat. They depend on native, fescue-dominated grasslands they depend on to survive, he said.

Populations are also being lost due to isolated and small populations fragmented by intensive land management activities and development.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has 90 days to determine whether the petition to list the species warrants further review. Then they will have a year to decide whether or not they will list the species as threatened.

The butterfly is already listed as threatened by the state of Washington.