Experts Say 5 Rare Florida Butterflies May Be Extinct

Federal officials, however, say it may be too early to declare the butterflies extinct.

Saturday, Apr 27, 2013  |  Updated 11:45 AM EDT
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Federal wildlife officials are reviewing a South Florida butterfly survey that concluded that five rare species have gone extinct.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hired entomologist Marc Minno to perform the survey. In reports filed late last year, Minno concluded that the Zestos skipper, the rockland Meske's skipper, the Zarucco duskywing, the nickerbean blue and the Bahamian swallowtail had disappeared for good.

Minno says he spent six years on a survey that was only supposed to take two. He says he never saw these species.

Federal officials say it may be too early to declare the butterflies extinct. The wildlife service's lead butterfly biologist tells The Miami Herald that some butterfly species have vanished in the past but then made surprise reappearances years later.

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