Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Leona’s Little Blue Butterfly Warrants Further Review for Possible Protection Under the Endangered Species Act

Aug 17, 2011

For Immediate Release  
August 16, 2011                 

Contact: Laurie Sada, Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office
(541) 885-2507


Leona’s Little Blue Butterfly Warrants Further Review for Possible Protection
Under the Endangered Species Act

KLAMATH FALLS, OR -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced it will conduct an in-depth status review of the Leona’s little blue butterfly (Philotiella Leona) to determine if it warrants federal protection as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)   The Leona’s little blue butterfly is found exclusively within a six square mile area of the Antelope Desert, east of Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon. 

Today’s decision, known as a 90-day finding, is based on scientific information received in a petition to protect the butterfly under the ESA, as well as other scientific information available to the Service. The petition finding is the first step in a process that triggers a more thorough review of all available biological information relating to the butterfly.

The finding, published in today’s Federal Register,opens a 60-day public comment period.  Comments will be accepted until October 17, 2011.
To ensure this status review is comprehensive, the Service is asking for information from all interested parties regarding the butterfly and its habitat.  Based on the status review, the Service will issue a 12-month finding on the petition, making one of three possible determinations: (1) Listing is not warranted, in which case no further action will be taken; (2) Listing as threatened or endangered is warranted.  , or (3) Listing is warranted but precluded by other higher priority activities.
Anyone wishing to submit information regarding the Leona’s little blue butterfly may do so by one of the following methods:

 Federal eRulemaking Portal:  http://www.regulations.gov.  Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

 U.S. mail or hand-delivery:  Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2011–0055; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203. 

Comments will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov

Comments, including personal information, will be posted The Leona’s little blue butterfly is a member of the Polyommatini tribe of the Lycaenidae family, and is the largest species in the Philotiella genus.  The historical range of the Leona’s little blue butterfly was unknown prior to the discovery of the species in 1995.  The current known distribution of the Leona’s little blue butterfly occurs within a 6-square mile area of the Antelope Desert, east of Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon. 

The Leona’s little blue butterfly is found in volcanic ash and pumice fields and meadows consisting of a non-forested bitterbrush/needlegrass-sedge community.  The Leona’s little blue butterfly utilizes several species of plants as nectar sources including spurry buckwheat (Eriogonum spergulinum), sulphur buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum var. polyanthum), and an Epilobium species, but the butterfly is known to have only one larval hostplant, spurry buckwheat.  The butterfly undergoes complete metamorphosis, developing through the egg, larva, and pupa stages in one summer, and then it emerges from its chrysalis as an adult the following year.  Adults of this species emerge for approximately 2–3 weeks in mid-June through mid-July. A photo of this butterfly may be viewed on Flickr at  http://flic.kr/p/adAQhB .

The Endangered Species Act provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife and plants. This landmark conservation law has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species across the national and promoted the recovery of many others.  Our priority is to make implementation of the ESA less complex, less contentious and more effective.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshq, watch our YouTube Channel at  http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq


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