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Spring Strahm, Conservation Ecologist and Data Analyst, from Conservation Biology Institute presents on the re-population of Quino Checker Spot Butterfly in San Diego National Wildlife Refuge.

In the 1970s, the Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) was one of the most abundant butterfly species in southern California.  Two decades later, due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and loss of host plants to weeds, the species was listed as federally endangered.  The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has partnered with a diverse group of collaborators from seven different organizations possessing differing areas of expertise to develop a captive rearing and reintroduction protocol for the Quino checkerspot.  Last winter, 1500 larvae were released on part of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge where the butterfly had been absent for almost a decade.  Emergence of Quino checkerspot adults this spring demonstrates a proof of concept for rearing and reintroducing the species, which may become necessary under climate change. Coupled with future habitat management and additional reintroductions, this project will increase the number of Quino checkerspots and promote connectivity within the metapopulation on the refuge. A successful protocol provides the ability for future reintroductions and paves the way for collaborative efforts to alleviate the impacts of habitat loss and other anthropogenic pressures on the Quino checkerspot.