butterflies

The National Butterfly Center, in danger of losing access to most of its wildlife nature preserve along the Rio Grande, is asking a court to stop federal officials from building a border wall across its land.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The Miami Blue is the Rasputin of butterflies.

But biologists are hoping for a happier ending for the Miami Blue than the early 20th Century Russian mystic who survived one assassination attempt after another … before he was eventually killed.

Miami Blue butterflies were once common throughout coastal South Florida. But by the early 1990s, you could only find them on Key Biscayne. Then Hurricane Andrew came through in 1992 and that colony disappeared. People thought they were extinct.

The recently published results of a 37-year study of monarch butterflies in north-central Florida shows the number of adult butterflies migrating to the Sunshine State and the number of eggs they’ve produced have declined by about 80 percent since 2005, but researchers say there’s a lot being done to help save the iconic orange and black insect.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Working to protect a rare, endangered butterfly usually involves work in the field or the lab, or sometimes meetings and conference calls.

Now helping out the Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak butterfly can mean drinking a beer — or at least buying one.

At Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, the landscape is quintessential Florida. There's the marsh area with towering cypress trees and there's the wet prairie. 

It's what Florida looked like hundreds of years ago. And it's one of the places where people were tallying butterflies for the North American Butterfly Association's (NABA) summer count.