Thursday 28 April 2011

X is for Xerces Blue Butterfly – that was what X was for ...

Xerces Blue

X is for blank ... I’m escaping across the pond to fulfil my countryside brief albeit in the Californian countryside .. and I’m sure you won’t begrudge me one slip away from my shores!

The Xerces Blue is extinct – sadly .. wonderful colour it must have been.   The species lived in the coastal sand dunes of the Sunset District of San Francisco .. and is believed to be the first American butterfly species to become extinct as a result of loss of habitat caused by urban development.

It was last seen in the early 1940s in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  The species was first described and documented in 1852, being characterised by blue wings with white spots.

Seaside Bird's-foot Trefoil
Two species of plants from the legume family - Bird’s foot trefoils and the appropriately coloured lupins – were essential food sources for the larvae of the Xerces Blue; which together in a symbiotic relationship with a particular ant were essential to the existence of the Xerces Blue.

Settlement of the Bay Area brought in new ant species which slowly replaced the necessary ant species within the butterfly’s super habitat.

Efforts are on to re-establish related butterflies, such as the Palos Verdes Blue – which are being reared in laboratories.  A sub-species (Xerces-like) of the Silvery Blue has been discovered as well.

Wild Perennial Lupin
Up the coast to Portland ... an endangered invertebrate conservation group known as the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, named after the Xerces Blue, has now been in existence for forty years ... “protecting wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat”.

Another reminder to look after our habitat ... ensuring all species remain extant, while if we’re lucky new sub-species will continue to be found or evolve over time ...

X .. that spot in history denoting ten .. or a blank ..  or various signs .. let us remember the Xs in our countryside and ensure we care for these unknowns ...

This was a Xerces Butterfly    that is what X is for ..

Part of the ABC - April 2011 - A - Z Challenge - Aspects of the British Countryside

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


MorningAJ said...

I think you've done really well to get this far without straying overseas! Sadly the blue butterflies seem to be generally insecure for a variety of reasons. Some UK species are now extinct as well, I think.

That lupin's gorgeous

Zeenat{Positive Provocations} said...

Dearest Hilary,
I so love that you chose the Xerces Butterfly as part of your A0Z challenge.
That picture of the blue butterfly is just beautiful.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge here. I learnt something new about my favorite creatures.
So Much Love,

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Morning AJ .. thanks so much .. just loved the blue of the Xerces - I had "no choice" but to go overseas!

I'm sure UK species are extinct .. evolution in all forms is around .. but we don't help along the way by destroying habitats sadly.

@ Zeenat .. ah ah - now I know how to get your attention .. put a flutterby up .. and you'll be here!!

Isn't it special looking .. I love that purply blue colour .. and the lupins are so beautifully rich .. they just go together.

Hugs to you too Zeenat ...

Great to see you both - thanks so much for coming by and commenting .. cheers Hilary

Joanne said...

Raising my coffee cup in a sad toast to the Xerces Blue. It's too bad such a beautiful creature is gone.

Mason Canyon said...

It's a shame that we've lost such a beautiful butterfly. I didn't know about it, thanks for bringing it to my attention. Butterflies are so magical in their own way. Hope we wake up and don't lose anymore.

Thoughts in Progress

Bossy Betty said...

Ahhhh! So pretty!!! Yes, another reminder to take care of our Mother Earth.

Manzanita said...

I feel sad whenever I hear about an extinction and especially due to man's sprawl. Most of them are, I guess. Love your knowledge.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

In another 6 weeks my garden will be filled with Lupins. It seems so sad that it's still 6 weeks. Boo hoo. But the snow's gone. And I'm seeing ducks, eagles, red-headed woodpeckers. Didn't realize how terrific X is, Hilary. Beautiful photos.

Southpaw said...

It was so pretty. It's so sad when a species becomes extinct.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Joanne .. yes definitely a toast is required to the loss of the Xerces blue - thanks Joanne ... so sad to lose these special insects.

@ Mason .. you're so right - we need to care for our countryside a little more .. butterflies are totally magical aren't they ..

@ Bossy Betty - I agree ... remember, remember everyone to take care of Mother Earth ..

@ Manzanita .. and you agree too .. thanks - my knowledge is just 'looking things up!' and putting things together if necessary ..

@ Karen - glad to remind you - as you and Mason say .. butterflies are so magical.

@ Joylene .. six weeks - but what a delightful wait for that magical colour to appear .. I love lupins!

Glad the snow's gone and look what you're seeing beautiful birds .. we had a green woodpecker here the other day with a red hood ..

X turned out to be a good post .. but thank goodness I could continent hop! Wikipedia photos - thankfully.

@ Holly .. you and the others .. it is extremely sad when a species becomes extinct .. they may be able to reintroduce it .. if things go right in the laboratory or with the sub-species .. sometime!

Thanks everyone .. this is a tale of woe .. but at least we're realising we need to protect what we have ... cheers Hilary

walk2write said...

What a beautiful creature it was! It's so important to think about what potential havoc might happen when we plant something that might become invasive and displace native plants. I'm becoming more and more cautious about it as I garden. Great post, Ms. Hilary!

Anonymous said...

What beautiful choices for X. Lovely :O)

Ebenyado said...

Hello! hope you good.I just want to say this is a great post.Really nice of you sharing it up here.Am staying in touch for more.Keep it up.
Meanwhile plz do check my blog on freeing your mind read it,follow,be inspired and comment to improve my works too.Have a wonderful day.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ W2W .. isn't it gorgeous and I definitely couldn't resist posting about it. You're right the new plants too .. we're not sure what they will do - or where they will go .. it's time to love our native plants. I think I might be when I get back to owning a garden again ..

Thanks - W2W .. glad you enjoyed it ..

@ Madeleine .. thanks the photos make the post - don't they .. such gorgeous things .. good to see you ..

Thanks W2W and Madeleine .. good to see you .. Hilary

M. Reka said...

So beautiful post and really lovely images!

Karen Lange said...

It's fun to see what everyone comes up with for the letter X. Love your pictures! Appreciate the info. Thanks, Hilary! Have a great weekend!
:) Karen

Soul Dipper said...

Thank goodness for people who have worked so hard to help life on our planet. I didn't know about this little blue one...I've seen small blue butterflies up here in Canada, but not for years. Relative? Don't know, but this has been so informative. Thanks, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Marinela .. many thanks .. the images are gorgeous aren't they ...

@ Karen .. thanks - yes I was wondering how X was going to turn out .. I'll have to catch up - my W is going to take over today!

@ Amy - lovely to see you .. we have a blue butterfly or two here .. but not quite as pretty as this one.

Just delighted you enjoyed the information .. good to have X in the alphabet, so I could let you know about the Xerces butterfly!

Cheers and thanks for visiting .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ebenezer .. nice to meet you .. and glad you enjoyed the post ..

Have a good weekend .. Hilary

Susan Scheid (Raining Acorns) said...

I did wonder what you might do for the X. Though it took a leap across the pond and accompanying continent, the trip was well worth it. How sad we have lost this beautiful butterfly.


Lovely X word though sadly not here any more.
Noenthe less an excellent write.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Raining Acorns .. thanks - once I'd found X (early on) then it was easy! But I found the information interesting .. so glad you enjoyed reading about it - thanks ..

@ Yvonne .. yes - it is sad, but they're finding sub-species .. even now .. and thanks - delighted to read you enjoyed it ..

Cheers to you both - enjoy the Z day .. Hilary

Linda said...

It's so sad when something so beautiful is erased from existence. Why isn't those that cause destruction thrive so well, the ones that co-exist peacefully sometimes do not?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Linda .. life is not really fair is it .. and we, as people, tend not to think of others, or the damage we are doing .. good to see you here ..

Peaceful existence with all things would be wonderful .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Celestial Elf . thanks for visiting - I enjoyed the butterfly video .. we just need to protect our native species.

The article reprints were interesting too - especially as the food sources and larva food sources were highlighted - useful .. thanks.

Cheers Hilary