I’ve been a bit remiss at posting regular challenges, so I’ll try to pick up the pace. Who can tell me anything about this butterfly? The most you’re getting is that it is from the Western half of the US. Credit for family, genus or species and ridiculous credit for subspecies and where it is from.
Euphydryas anicia cloudcrofti
Ted managed to pretty quickly ID this lep with stunning accuracy for a beetle-guy. You lep-ers reading this should hang your head in shame for not jumping on it faster.
As mentioned in the comments, this butterfly only flies around the resort town of Cloudcroft, New Mexico in the Sacramento Mountains. For years they have been fighting to have this listed as an endangered species, but have failed at every attempt (the most recent rejection was August 2009). The town relies almost exclusively on winter ski resorts and developers have put up a successful fight against protection. The entire area is within the Lincoln National Forest, but they have only closed the area to butterfly collecting, not development. When asking the forest service about this butterfly they unequivocally state that the checkerspot is endangered (even though it’s not). Of course they do not want you to collect it – but if you offered a few million to develop its habitat, that’s a different story.