Knysna Wildlife Project confirmed this week that the beautiful and rare Brenton Blue Butterfly has survived the fires.
In a “Quick Super Amazing Wonderful Announcement”, the Knysna Wildlife Project said yesterday: “It has just been confirmed by Dr Dave Edge that the Brenton Blue Butterfly survived the fires and they are ALIVE! More information will follow soon!…”
The Brenton Blue Butterfly is one of the rarest butterflies in the world, and is critically endangered. They only exist in a small area in the Brenton Peninsula… which was devastated by the 7 June 2017 fires.
At the time of the fires it was uncertain if the butterfly would survive. As the Knysna-Plett Herald reported in June: “A question on many resident’s lips is “Will our butterfly survive the fire – will she emerge from the ashes, or is this the end of one of the icons of our town?.””
The answer was met with excitement yesterday by local residents who shared the good news.
The Brenton Blue Trustees had said in a statement on 22 June that they thought the butterfly had a chance of survival as “the larvae and pupae of the butterfly are underground at this time of year, tended by host ants Camponotus baynei, and feed on the rootstocks of the host plant. It is believed… that the larvae and pupae have the capacity to remain in a diapausal state for several years until surface conditions are again favourable.” Phew, looks like favourable conditions came earlier than expected!