Reintroducing Miami Blues - PDF by keara



                                                                                                    Holly Salvato

                                                                                                                                                                                                                David Lysinger
Miami Blues
                     by Dennis Olle

In November, 2002, the State of Florida,
responding to a petition from NABA, des-
ignated Miami Blues as an endangered spe-
cies. Since that emergency listing and the
subsequent confirmation of endangered
status, efforts to protect the butterflies have      A Nectaring Miami Blue. Sept. 24,
been moving forward with reasonably good             2005. Bahia Honda State Park, Monroe
speed; however, there have been some recent          Co., FL.
“bumps” in the road.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Holly Salvato
     A propagation program for Miami Blues,         adult females were released. Both Elliott
directed by Dr. Jaret Daniels at the University     Key and the Flamingo area contain exten-
of Florida, Gainesville and funded by the U.S.      sive stands of gray nickerbean (Caesalpinia
Fish and Wildlife Commission, was begun in          bonduc). Follow-up surveys, at the release                           The argument of the FKMCD is they
the latter half of 2003. The captive breeding       sites later in 2004, found a small number of                    need to spray pesticides throughout the Keys
program was intended to provide a reservoir         adults.                                                         and that the presence of an endangered spe-
of individuals should a disaster strike the last         More recent developments (or the lack                      cies will interfere with their duties. Using
remaining wild colony at Bahia Honda Key,           thereof) in the field have not been as encour-                  this reasoning to block the release of Miami
and to provide breeding stock that could be         aging: So far as I am aware, there have no                      Blues onto northern Key Largo, for example,
used for reintroducing Miami Blues to loca-         attempts to create suitable habitat for Miami                   seems illogical, since this area already con-
tions where they formerly thrived but at which      Blues very close to the existing colony, allow-                 tains populations of the federally endangered
they no longer occur. Initial propagation           ing them to increase their range naturally. In                  Schaus’ Swallowtail and thus cannot legally be
efforts have been reported to be highly suc-        addition, as of this writing, releases have not                 sprayed.
cessful. Through 2005, twenty-four genera-          been re-commenced in the 2005 wet season.                            Notwithstanding the initial propagation
tions of Miami Blues, including more than                The Florida Keys Mosquito Control                          successes, we have learned that there is an
20,000 viable pupas and almost 13,000 adults        District (“FKMCD”) has successfully stalled                     insufficient number of caterpillars available
have been reared. However, transferring these       efforts aimed at restoring Miami Blues any-                     to re-commence timely 2004-type releases
laboratory successes to successful reintroduc-      where in the Florida Keys (Monroe Co.).                         into the wild this year. Surprisingly, despite
                                                                                                                                                                      Top: The reintroduction sites, such as
tions in the field is, at best, problematic.        FKMCD initiated a legal action against the                      these limited numbers, the staff of the Florida   this site near Flamingo, in Everglades
     The first attempts at field reintroductions,   State of Florida and the University of Florida,                 Wildlife & Conservation Commission (FWC),         National Park, have ample amounts
during the “wet season” (May-Oct) of 2004,          et al., seeking to enjoin them from releasing                   trying to meet objections from the FKMCD,         of gray nickerbean, the caterpillar
were limited to one site in Biscayne National       any Miami Blues into the Florida Keys. While                    has elected to begin a pesticide study subject-   foodplant for the Miami Blues.
Park (Elliott Key) and to more than a half          no injunction against releasing Miami Blues                     ing captive-raised Miami Blues, in various
dozen other sites in the Flamingo area of Ever-     has been granted in the action, for all practical               life stages, to chemicals commonly sprayed        Above: Another nectaring Miami Blue.
glades National Park. These initial attempts        purposes, the FKMCD appears to have gotten                      over natural areas to kill adult mosquitoes       Sept. 24, 2005. Bahia Honda State
at reintroducing Miami Blues to the wild were       its way as the State has refused to proceed                     (adulticides). We assume that the conclusion      Park, Monroe Co., FL.
mainly limited to releasing laborary-raised         with any re-introduction in the Keys in the                     following the sacrifice of these rare creatures
caterpillars, although in a few cases pregnant      face of this opposition.                                        is foregone: Diabrome (the adulticide used by
22 American Butterflies, Fall 2005                                                                                                                                                                             23

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