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Endangered Butterfly El Segundo Blue Spotted at LAX

Apr 22, 2016 04:22 AM EDT
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Despite the bustling life in LAX, El Segundo Blue butterflies chose to feed near its grounds
(Photo : David McNew/Getty Images)

Despite the loud noises made by planes and the non-stop flow of arriving and departing passengers, an endangered butterfly specie called El Segundo Blue was spotted inside the bustling grounds of the Los Angeles International Airport.

According to National Geographic, buckwheat shrubs near the end of the runway in LAX are the reason these endangered butterflies are visiting the area. They feed on buckwheat and a large number of El Segundo blue butterflies are expected to hover in LAX for the whole summer season.


LAX environmental supervisor, Eric Blyther said in an interview with National Geographic that "As long as it has its buckwheat, it can eat, grow, survive, and it's happy."

Based on the report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the El Segundo Blue butterflies are known to exist in California. Today, although the specie is considered endangered, they often visit LAX during the summer season. Last year about 25,000 adult El Segundo blue butterflies visited the airport according to entomologist, Richard Arnold.

One of the causes of the butterflies' frequent visit to LAX is the nearby LAX Dune Preserve which, according to a report, is currently home to 1,000 species of plants and animals.

According to the same report, there were only about 500 El Segundo Blue butterflies in 1976 and they took refuge in LAX dunes, that's what prompted the authorities to further protect the species by developing the LAX dunes and turning it into a conservation area for different animals. After years of preservation, conservationists believed that there were 90,000 El Segundo Blue Butterflies there in 2012.

Scientists are still studying the pattern as to why the butterflies only prefer certain types of plants to feed on. More importantly, why the modern day activities of men don't affect their feeding and migration patterns. It remains a surprise to many researchers how they managed to still hover surrounding areas, ignoring the noise of LAX. Despite that, they are very much welcome to the airport grounds.

Although it is fascinating to see the El Segundo Blue butterflies co-existing with humans, National Geographic said there are other animals known to survive in the city areas as well, just like the Eastern grey squirrel known to live in urban areas, raccoons that live near human settlements, and the brown rat known to be city-dwellers.

El Segundo Blue Butterfly
(Photo : LAWA/Lax International Airport/ Facebook) El Segundo Blue Butterfly

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