November 24, 2014
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Nevada's iridescent Mount Charleston Blue Butterfly will get extra protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this weekend officially classified the delicate gray and baby blue insect as endangered.
Ecologist Rob Mrowka with the Center for Biological Diversity says the butterfly has been threatened by development and fire suppression activities in the Mount Charleston area outside Las Vegas.
The insect's habitat on the top of the mountain was further damaged by a fire that raged there this summer.
The butterfly thrives in open forest with exposed soil and little vegetation. Mrowka says this kind of habitat is becoming harder to find thanks in part to a Forest Service program that spreads woodchips on forest ground in an attempt to stop wildfires.