Rare NH Mountain Butterfly Conservation Efforts Underway
Gorham, New Hampshire is making national news with a report from usnews.com via the associated press about a rare species of butterfly that researchers are trying to move to the endangered species list. The White Mountain Fritillary butterfly is a lot like the monarch butterfly in appearance with orange and black markings, but it is a completely different species. The butterfly is only seen at elevations above 4000 feet in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains.
Heidi Holman told New Hampshire Public Radio that the White Mountain Fritillary is relatively unknown. It took researchers a year of study to determine the males from the females. I think butterfly researcher is off my list of potential careers because there is no way I would have the patience to study them. I am glad there are scientists dedicated enough to do the hard work. Holman also told NHPR “We’ve always known there’s a risk to the species in the face of climate change. If we don’t know the host plant, we don’t know if that’s at risk, and then how quickly the habitat could be at risk” according to reporting by usnews.com via the associated press.
Researchers have been catching the butterflies and collecting their eggs to release back on Mount Washington. The hatched caterpillars are set to be studied over the winter. Next time I take a trip to Mount Washington I will keep my eyes out for this rare butterfly. Generally, bugs terrify me, but I like to see butterflies, from a distance. My wife is in charge of catching spiders and bugs in my house.