Rare butterfly search a focus of threatened species day – Echonetdaily – Australia News

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A female Australian Fritillary butterfly. Photo: L. Mathews.

North Coast residents are being asked to look out for an extremely rare butterfly found along the coastal strip from Port Macquarie to Tweed Heads, ahead of Threatened Species Day (7 September).

The Australian Fritillary (Argynnis hyperbius inconstans) has a 6cm wingspan and is covered in orange-brown and black markings.

Populations of the Australian Fritillary have dramatically declined in NSW and it is now listed nationally as critically endangered.

Mick Andren, Senior Threatened Species Officer at the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) is calling on the community to help find and photograph the Australian Fritillary.

‘There have been a few credible sightings of the butterfly recently, but no photographs or specimens have been officially recorded,” Mr Andren said.

‘These sightings give us hope that wild populations still exist, but we need the help of the community to find them.

‘The best place to try and spot the butterfly is in coastal locations where the arrowhead violet (Viola betonicifolia) grows; the only known food plant of the endangered Australian Fritillary butterfly.

‘The plant often grows unobtrusively beneath grasses and other vegetation and is easiest to find during the cooler months when it is flowering.

‘One of the best ways to spot the butterfly is to look in open areas near patches of violets and other flowering plants during sunny weather, as that’s where they tend to fly.

‘Take care not to confuse the Australian Fritillary butterfly with other orange and black butterfly species by carefully checking the patterning,’ Mr Andren said.

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