Butterflies and moths occur in a variety of diverse habitats, where nectar and food is abundant. These insects are indicators of a healthy ecosystem, where healthy habitats provide a diversity of plants that provide nectar to adults and food for caterpillars. Threats to their well-being include habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, invasive plants that compete with their host plants, climate change, and various other forms of human influence, from poaching to fire suppression. The National Park Service helps protect butterflies, moths and the ecosystems they are a part of by preserving and restoring wildlands and by holding public butterfly counts in the summer. They also monitor populations of at-risk butterflies to determine when and where further action is required.
In the Bay Area, the National Park Service focuses on three federally endangered butterflies at most risk. These include the mission blue butterfly and the San Bruno elfin butterfly, both found in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and the Myrtle’s silverspot butterfly of Point Reyes National Seashore. Information, including species lists, reports, guides are linked below.
Online Tools and Resources