Xerces Blue

This beautiful little butterfly, the Xerces Blue, was last seen in North America in the early 1940s. Although never recorded in Canada, this species is believed to be the first American butterfly species to become extinct as a result of human disturbance, mainly loss of habitat caused by urban development. It was found in the San Francisco area, and specialized on legumes as food plants, primarily lupines. Like many lycaenid butterflies (the Blues), this species was probably associated with ants in its larval stages; the ants provide significant care to the larvae, which develop in the ant hill.