Glaucopsyche lygdamus palosverdesensis - E. Perkins and J. Emmel, 1977
Palos Verdes Blue
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Glaucopsyche lygdamus palosverdesensis E. Perkins and J. Emmel, 1977 (TSN 201264)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.107796
Element Code: IILEPG402A
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Butterflies and Skippers
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Lycaenidae Glaucopsyche
Genus Size: A - Monotypic genus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Pelham, J. P. 2008. A catalogue of the butterflies of the United States and Canada with a complete bibliography of the descriptive and systematic literature. The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera. Volume 40. 658 pp. Revised 14 February, 2012.
Concept Reference Code: B08PEL01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Glaucopsyche lygdamus palosverdesensis
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5T1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 22Feb2009
Global Status Last Changed: 01Sep1998
Rounded Global Status: T1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: This subspecies was for a while considered extinct. Now it persists in recent years as a few thousand individuals (most of the year pupae) in a captive rearing program and a few dozen to a few hundred adults per year in the wild. It is endemic to a peninsula adjacent to Los Angeles. While it may be stable for now, this butterfly is critically imperiled in the long run based on miniscule area of occupancy, extremely low numbers for an insect, and fluctuations from year to year.

Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (30Sep1998)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States California (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (02Jul1980)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R8 - California-Nevada
IUCN Red List Category: NE - Not evaluated

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: <100 square km (less than about 40 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Palos Verdes Peninsula near Los Angeles.

Area of Occupancy: 1-5 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: About 50 hectares as of 2008 but there is a considerably more unoccupied habitat into which this butterfly could possibly be established.

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: There is only one remaining viable occurrence, although it may to some extent function as a metapopulation.

Population Size: 50 - 250 individuals
Population Size Comments: From 1994-2003 annual number of adults is estimated to have fluctuated from 30 to 282, so this subspecies has moderately large fluctuations and extremely low numbers for an insect. If these numbers are correct the population has probably become genetically depleted. In more recent years there has been augmentation with captive reared butterflies (e.g. Schoch, 2008) and some evidence of a more stable and slightly larger population.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very few (1-3)
Viability/Integrity Comments: One with moderate viability.

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Development has eliminated most of the habitat, but what little remains seem relatively unthreatened by direct human disturbance. Efforts are underway by the US navy and the USFWS to protect the small remaining habitat and there is an on-going captive breeding program. For an engaging, but very informative, account of this captive rearing and reintroduction effort see Schoch (2008). The extremely small area of occupancy and low number of wild adults (around 300) are sufficient to consider this taxon critically imperiled. While the importance of genetic depletion in insect populations in general is not well understood, in this case multiple years below 200 adults and one year as low as 30 strongly suggest genetic issues as a legitimate concern for this butterfly. Another issue that is difficult to assess is climate change, but the range is expected to become more arid which is likely to stress the habitat and thus the population.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)

Long-term Trend: Decline of >50%

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly vulnerable
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: While under normal conditions populations of this species are not especially vulnerable, in this case tiny area of occupancy and population size combined with large variation in critical climatic factors make this population an exception.

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: none

Protection Needs: In place.

Distribution
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Global Range: (<100 square km (less than about 40 square miles)) Palos Verdes Peninsula near Los Angeles.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single state or province

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CA

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Los Angeles (06037)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
18 Santa Monica Bay (18070104)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Butterfly, Lycaenidae.
General Description: Females have brown-grey wings above while the males have vivid silvery-blue above. Both sexes have black dots haloed by white rings above, a grey colored underside, and are covered with blue hairs (Garth and Tilden, 1986, End. Spec. Tech. Bull. 14[6], 1994).
Reproduction Comments: Adults emerge during February and March and live for an average of four days (Mattoni in End. Spec. Tech. Bull. 14[6], 1994).
Ecology Comments: Near the end of their larval stage the catepillar of this butterfly may be tended by ants (End. Spec. Tech. Bull. 14[6], 1994).
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Shrubland/chaparral
Habitat Comments: Confined to coastal sage scrub community. Patches of brush, "locoweed".
Adult Food Habits: Nectarivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Known host plants for larvae are ASTRAGALUS TRICHOPODUS var. LONCHUS and LOTUS SCOPARIUS.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Biological Research Needs: Based on rearing unde very close to natural conditions determine whether or not pupae sometimes remain in diapause for more than one season. If so the occasional very low number of adults is not as serious concern as it appears to be, anf the capacity for resilience would be improved.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 21Feb2009
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Schweitzer, D. F.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 09Jan1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): MORRISON, M.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Arnold, Richard A., 1987. Decline of the endangered Palos Verdes blue butterfly in California. Biological conservation 40:203-217

  • Black, S. H. and D. M. Vaughan. 2005. Species profile: Glaucopsyche lygdamus palosverdesensis. In: Shepherd, M. D., D. M. Vaughan and S. H. Black (Eds.). Red list of pollinator insects of North America. CD-ROM Version 1 (May 2005). The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Portland, OR.

  • Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986. California Butterflies. University of California Press.

  • Opler, P. A., and A. D. Warren. 2002. Butterflies of North America. 2. Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, north of Mexico. C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 79 pp.

  • Pelham, J. P. 2008. A catalogue of the butterflies of the United States and Canada with a complete bibliography of the descriptive and systematic literature. The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera. Volume 40. 658 pp. Revised 14 February, 2012.

  • Schoch, Deborah. 2008. Bevy of Blues emerges in breeding frenzy. Los Angeles Times. March 18 2008, available on line (as of February, 2009) at http://articles.latimes.com/2008/mar/18/local/me-blues18

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1980. Listing the Palos Verdes Blue Butterfly as an Endangered Species with Critical Habitat (Final Rule). Federal Register 45(129):44939-42.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2008. Palos Verdes Blue butterfly, five year review: status and evaluation. USFWS, Carlsebad, California. 16 pp.

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