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Xerces Blue

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Xerces Blue
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Xerces_blue.jpg
Xerces Blue


Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Subkingdom:Metazoa
Division:Rhopalocera
Phylum:Arthropoda
Subphylum:Hexapoda
Class:Insecta
Subclass:Pterygota
Infraclass:Neoptera
Superorder:Endopterygota
Order:Lepidoptera
Suborder:Ditrysia
Superfamily:Papilionoidea
Family:Lycaenidae
Subfamily:Polyommatinae
Tribe:Polyommatini
Genus:Glaucopsyche
Species:G. xerces
Binomial name
Glaucopsyche xerces
(Boisduval, 1852)

The Xerces Blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche xerces) is an extinct species of butterfly. The species lived in coastal sand dunes of the San Francisco Bay area. The Xerces butterfly is the first American butterfly species to become extinct as a result of loss of habitat caused by urban development. The last Xerces Blue was seen in March, 1943 in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The species was first described and documented in 1852. It was characterized by blue wings with white spots. The butterfly's food plants belonged to the genera Lotus and Lupinus. Xerces probably associated with ants in its larval stages as part of a symbiotic relationship. One of the theories regarding the extinction of the species is that with human settlement in the Bay area, new species of ant were introduced which slowly replaced the existing ant species within the butterfly's habitat.

Efforts are on to resurrect the Xerces Blue. The Palos Verdes Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus palosverdesensis) which is considered a Los Angeles cousin of the Xerces, is being reared in labs. A new Xerces-like subspecies of the Silvery Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus) have been discovered as well.

An endangered insects conservation group known as the Xerces Society is named after the Xerces Blue species.

Xerces is also a group of XML software packages named after this butterfly.

External link

http://www.xerces.org - An invertebrate conservation society (http://www.xerces.org/)

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