Thoughts on Butterfly Conservation

Last week I attended an environmental conference in Charleston, South Carolina.  Charlestown is a wonderful town with lots of charm, friendly people, and good food.  However, I found myself contemplating negative issues regarding the habitats found in cities.

One of the local speakers mentioned that fireflies are no longer found in Charleston.  Despite weather in the 90’s and 100’s F. and a considerable amount of time spent outside I saw no butterflies.  I feel fairly confident that if the habitat represented anything near to the natural habitat there would have been hundreds flying around.

And Charleston is not alone.  I am particularly aware of butterflies–I look for them everywhere I go.  I can say I have looked for them and seen either none or very low numbers in other cities–Orlando, San Antionio, Houston, and Kansas City to name a few.

Why have these charismatic insects disappeared?  I suspect that there are a number of factors:  extreme changes to habitat, pesticides, paving and compacting of soil, draining water, and a host of other things.

In order to do something about it, we need to be able to define what the problem is.  That is the first step.   Then I think we can do something about it, particularly with efforts to manage storm water drainage.

Meanwhile, back in rural Iowa we still have fireflies.

This is Photinus pyralis if I am not mistaken.  It is one of the most common of the fireflies.

Sorry for your loss, Charleston.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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