Miami Blue - list or save?

Mark Walker MWalker at
Tue Apr 30 18:45:10 EDT 2002

I'm going to peep in on this thread, though I've provided little assistance
to date on the project.

Bob Parcelles wrote a few things here that I felt needed clarification:

> We will be most open to liaison with any small groups who insist on
> having there own efforts. Any activities contrary to our purpose or
> the well being of the butterfly will be met with legal remedies until
> this is listed and government bodies are able to enforce the law and
> proper procedures. We are concerned about "token" programs.

I thought the object of this effort was to "save the Miami Blue", not see
that it is listed.  In my opinion, listing should never be considered a
positive result, and should never be considered as a primary goal of
conservation.  Listing should always be considered a last resort, and in my
opinion, an indication of conservation failure rather than of victory.  Any
organization that boasts about responsibility for getting species listed is,
in my opinion, missing the whole point and applying resources badly a day
late and a dollar short.

For me, quality of life is not effectively realized by life on a planet
where every organism is listed as endangered.

And listing an organism where there isn't a direct link to an impacted
habitat seems like bad science.  The Miami Blue is an incredible butterfly,
but just exactly what habitat requirements does it have that are not
currently available in southern Florida?  Why does it thrive in Bahia Honda
while it remains unseen in other, seemingly suitable locations where its
foodplant thrives?  Does it's foodplant thrive?  If not, why not?

I sincerely hope that this butterfly does NOT get listed, that its listing
is in no way considered the principal goal of anyone, and that all of the
resources being applied to the butterfly's well being are primarily focused
on the scientific understanding of its disappearance.

If someone can prove to me that this butterfly has habitat dependencies that
can only be fulfilled in a few remaining locations in South Florida, then I
will agree that listing will be imminent.  Otherwise, we might concentrate
more on what we can do to encourage its propagation.  Meanwhile, I suspect
that there are a few other south Florida organisms who do have a dire
shortage of available habitat, are therefore on the verge of an irreversible
extirpation, and more deserving of federal action.  For example, I'll bet
there are a few hardwood hammock flies and grasshoppers that no one is
paying any attention to.  Meanwhile, with the recent contrasting claims of
ownership, I'm concerned that the whole effort will result more in the
drawing of attention to individuals than it will benefit the organism.  I
hope I'm wrong, and I hope we don't list the Miami Blue.

Mark Walker
Visiting St. Louis, MO 


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