Wednesday, March 13, 2013

[Lepidoptera • 2013] Critically Endangered Waterberg Copper Erikssonia edgei rediscovered in the Waterberg, South Africa

male Waterberg Copper Erikssonia edgei

The "Critically Endangered" Waterberg Copper Erikssonia edgei, last seen in its only known colony in the late 1980s and since thought to be extinct, has been re-discovered within the Bateleur Nature Reserve in the Waterberg by a member of the Lepidopterists Society of Africa (LepSoc).

The butterfly was originally discovered on 21 December 1980 by LepSoc member Dr Dave Edge, accompanied by his wife Esmé. It was found in a small area of sparse savannah at the foot of a hill on a farm in the Waterberg near Jan Trichardt's Pass. Some 10 years later the butterfly had disappeared from this locality primarily because of habitat changes induced by altered grazing and fire management practices. Originally thought to be the same as another species only recorded from southern Angola and Zambia, it was described as a distinct species in 2010 following more research on the genus by Alan Gardiner and Reinier Terblanche. It has been Red-Listed as "Critically Endangered" 

The "Critically Endangered" Waterberg Copper, thought to be extinct, rediscovered on 2 March 2013