Endangered Species in Santa Cruz County - Invertebrates


Smith's Blue Butterfly

Scientific Name: Euphilotes enoptes smithi

Status: E

Smith's Blue Butterfly historically ranged along the coast from Monterey Bay south to Point Gorda, occurring in scattered populations in association with coastal dune, coastal scrub, chaparral, and grassland habitats. Males are bright blue on the upper wing with dusky borders, and females are brown with a band of red-orange markings across the hind wings. The undersides of both sexes are whitish-gray and speckled with black dots. Both have prominently checkered fringes on fore and hind wings, but males have wide black borders and hairy-appearing body.

Main food plants for the Smith's Blue Butterfly are buckwheats; these serve as the larval food source, also the main nectar source and perching site for the adults. The species is very sedentary, rarely moving more than 30 meters from hatching site.

Habitat: Coastal and inland sand dunes as well as steep slopes along the coast where coastal sand dune strand vegetation dominates; area must contain a sea cliff and coastal buckwheat.

Threats: This subspecies is threatened by habitat destruction due to off road vehicles, sand mining, development, and by invasion of introduced plants.

To Learn More:

  • Animal Diversity Web
    Brief easy-to-read summaries (most with photos) describing habitat, geographic range, behavior, food and current conservation status.
  • Essig Museum of Entymology
    Easy to understand information about California's endangered insects.
  • NatureServe Explorer
    Enter species name in the search box to access a detailed description of habitat behavior, food, current conservation status, ecological and distribution data, with citations to relevant management reports.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    Documents describing protection for this species under the Endangered Species Act. General information about the species as well as plans both to protect it and to help it recover.

Last updated by teeterj on Oct. 27, 2011

Browse by Status Key

E — Endangered

T — Threatened

CH — Critical Habitat

PE — Taxa proposed for listing as endangered

PT — Taxa proposed for listing as threatened

PCH — Critical habitat which has been proposed

C — Candidate species for which the Fish and Wildlife Service has on file sufficient information on the biological vulnerability and threats to support proposals to list as endangered or threatened