The Mt. Charleston blue butterfly, endemic to Southern Nevada, is under consideration to be classified as an endangered species by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service. Other Nevada butterflies, including the lupine blue butterfly, Spring Mountains icarioides blue butterflies and Spring Mountains dark blue butterflies, are under consideration for “threatened” status because of their similar appearance to the Mt. Charleston. The butterflies’ wingspans often feature bold lines and spots on the outside, and a blue hue underneath.
Threatened or endangered status is determined by five factors, according to the proposed status document filed by the FWS in Sept., including “the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific or educational purposes; disease or predation; the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.” The report states that the Mt. Charleston blue butterfly is threatened by “habitat loss, collection, inadequate regulatory mechanisms and drought and extreme precipitation, which are predicted to increase as a result of climate change.” However, the report suggests that the habitat not be classified yet as a “critical habitat” because that status can increase threats for endangered species. “Publishing the exact locations of the butterfly’s habitat will further facilitate unauthorized collection and trade,” the report states. “Its rarity makes the Mt. Charleston blue butterfly extremely attractive to collectors.” Land designated as critical habitat can also be difficult to access and maintain.