Possibly extinct Brenton blue butterfly

The Brenton Blue butterfly Orachrysops niobe. b. female credit J Bode

Brenton blue butterfly Orachrysops niobe (Critically Endangered, Possibly Extinct)

Of the two localities at which it is known to have occurred, the Brenton blue butterfly is now extinct at one (Nature’s Valley) and possibly extinct at the other (the Brenton Blue Butterfly Reserve near Knysna). The most significant threats to the species are stochastic events such as runaway fires, prolonged drought, loss of genetic diversity and climate change. The number of butterflies on the reserve declined alarmingly over the past few years. This was initially because of the impact of drought on the host plant population. On top of this, the 2017 Knysna fire may have resulted in the extinction of the species, although it is hoped that the larvae may still persist underground.

Find out more about this magnificent butterfly here.