Reviving an endangered species
In 2012, there were only four Schaus swallowtail butterflies left in their natural habitat. They are the only swallowtail listed as endangered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Scientists have brought the Schaus swallowtail population back into the hundreds by releasing larvae, caterpillars, and adult butterflies back into islands in the Florida Keys.
Part of Biscayne National Park, Elliot Key is the first island where the butterfly was reintroduced after conservation efforts and captive breeding at the University of Florida.
Scientists released hundreds of Schaus swallowtail caterpillars in the woods of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Monday, July 23, 2018.
Scientists have also been tending to the Miami blue butterfly, similarly low in population. The team released 100 chrysalises in Long Key State Park Tuesday.