Xerces Blue

Stelenes at aol.com Stelenes at aol.com
Sun May 14 19:43:08 EDT 2000

Dear Ms. Hammond,

A few more links I just found surfing with pics and good info, some of which 
were reminders that some butterflies were forced to extinction before the 
Xerces Blue, like the "Brown Satyr" mentioned (Cercyonis sthenele sthenele) 
being lost to extinction in about 1880.  Scientists argue a lot about when a 
butterfly is different from another, and this is the case with the "Brown 
Satyr."  It was forced to extinction during the post gold-rush era in San 
Francisco, but a butterfly far away on Santa Cruz Island looks a lot little 
like it so you might hear from some that it is not really extinct.  The one 
in San Francisco did have its own name and some characteristics and habits, 
so it is quite probable that the San Francisco Brown Satyr is extinct.

Upper wing surface picture of a pinned Xerces Blue:

Another pic of the Xerces Blue and even more on its sad story from the 
California Academy of Sciences Museum in San Francisco:

Under - Lower wing surface picture of the Xerces Blue:
I couldn't find one pic of the underside of the wings of the Xerces Blue on 
the web, but this butterfly is considered by many people to be the same 
species as the Xerces Blue in parallel to what was mentioned above regarding 
names and the Brown Satyr.  The Xerces Blue is very easy to distinguish from 
the Silvery Blue which is a common name for the species argued to contain it. 
 If you look at the upper wing it is hard to tell, but the lower surface were 
albino white dots instead of the black ones you see in this pic of the 
Silvery Blue:

Article by Pyle attempting to answer the importance of extirpations of local 
populations and a bit more on the Xerces Blue extinction:

Please, I hope the name business doesn't confuse you, but we all have to live 
with the fact that telling one butterfly from another is not always as easy 
as it seems.  If consensus is reached on any of them, the sad extinction of a 
race of that species is just as terrible a loss.

Doug Dawn.
Woodland, CA
stelenes at pobox.com

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