Protections proposed for 2 rare Fla. butterflies


Published: Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 9:10 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 9:10 a.m.

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Federal wildlife officials have proposed listing two butterflies found only in South Florida as endangered species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday that the Florida leafwing and Bartram's scrub-hairstreak should be listed under the Endangered Species Act. The agency also has proposed designating more than 17,000 acres of critical habitat for both butterflies.

The proposed listing and habitat designation would resolve a series of lawsuits concerning the agency's program for listing endangered species.

Both butterflies have been candidates for federal listing since 2006. They are only found in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. The designated habitat would include parts of Everglades National Park and National Key Deer Refuge.

Much of the butterflies' former habitat range has been lost and their populations have dipped into the low hundreds.

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