Feeling Blue: Florida Butterfly Flutters on the Edge of Extinction

Miami Blue Butterflies. Photo: National Park Service

The brightly colored wings of the Miami blue butterfly once flittered and fluttered all over coastal Florida. But now, something so lovely and once so common is vanishing at a disturbingly rapid rate. Only a few hundred of the thumbnail-sized insects are left. Because of the Miami blue’s distress, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is putting the butterfly under emergency protection and will list it as an endangered species.

What’s causing the decline of this winged Florida native is not entirely clear. However, potential culprits include pesticides, habitat destruction, invasive species, climate change and hurricanes. The survival of the Miami blue is so delicate that a tropical storm could make this beautiful creature no more than a memory. If that happens, researchers, wildlife biologists and other Florida natives will certainly be feeling blue if this iconic butterfly disappears forever.

Learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s work to protect endangered species.