10 Rarest Butterflies in the World 2023: Butterflies are widely considered to be among the most aesthetically pleasing animals on the planet, and virtually everyone finds them fascinating.
Unfortunately, a number of different species of butterflies are considered to be in a state of critical endangerment due to the fact that human activity is destroying their natural habitats.
Because each butterfly on this list can only be found in a single location, they are all considered to be extremely uncommon.
These regions have, over the course of the years, experienced an increase in urbanization or been devastated by natural catastrophes such as wildfires and hurricanes, all of which have had a significant influence on the population of these already rare butterflies.
Because of their scarcity and their standing as endangered species, every butterfly on this list may be found on either the Xerces Society’s Red List of Butterflies and Moths or the IUCN Red List. Both of these lists can be found on the Internet.
10 Rarest Butterflies in the World 2023
1. Macedonian Grayling
- Current Estimated Numbers: about 3,000
- Location (Range): Pletvar, Macedonia
- Scientific Name: Pseudochazara cingovskii
The IUCN Red List classifies the Macedonian Grayling as a species that is in imminent risk of extinction due to the fact that its existing population is both unstable and shrinking.
This extremely uncommon European butterfly can only be found in the village of Pletvar in the country of Macedonia, and it is thought that there are only approximately 3,000 adult Macedonian Graylings in existence at this time.
The quarrying that goes on in the vicinity has made the habitat of the Macedonian Grayling in Pletvar extremely precarious.
Sadly, five out of the seven known population sites of Macedonian Graylings are located in close proximity to active marble quarries.
When the Macedonian Grayling butterfly was first listed on the IUCN Red List, it was given the title of being Europe’s most endangered butterfly. The number of Macedonian Graylings is still rather low despite the discovery of a few new colonies in Plevtar as a result of subsequent research.
2. Sinai Baton Blue
- Current Estimated Numbers: about 2,300
- Location (Range): Saint Katherine Protectorate, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
- Scientific Name: Pseudophilotes sinaicus
In addition to being one of the rarest butterflies in the world, the Sinai Baton Blue is also thought to be the smallest butterfly in the world. It can only be found in the Sinai Peninsula.
The Saint Katherine Protectorate on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula is the only place in the world where you can find Sinai Baton Blues in their natural habitat.
Within an area that is 7 square kilometers (2.7 square miles) in size, it is estimated that there are only approximately 2,300 unique Sinai Bation Blue butterflies.
The population of Sinai Baton Blues is influenced by the distribution of Sinai Thyme, which is endemic to the mountains of the Saint Katherine Protectorate but can only be found in discrete patches there.
The Sinai Baton Blue was formally described for the first time in 1975, although extensive observations of the species were not made until 2001. Since that time, numerous conservation initiatives have been launched in order to safeguard the survival of the Sinai Baton Blue.
3. Leona’s Little Blue
- Current Estimated Numbers: 1,000 – 2,000
- Location (Range): Antelope Desert, Klamath County, Oregon, USA
- Scientific Name: Philotiella leona
Leona and Harold Rice of Klamath County, Oregon are credited with making the initial discovery of the Leona’s Little Blue butterfly in the year 1995.
There is just one population of this species that has been discovered, and it is found in a region of the Antelope Desert that is only 6 square miles (15.5 square kilometers) in size.
There are likely between one thousand and two thousand Leona’s Little Blues living in this one colony, according to the most recent estimates.
The Leona’s Little Blue butterfly is dependent on the spurry buckwheat plant, which has become endangered in the butterfly’s natural area as a result of timber management, the invasion of lodgepole pines, fire, fire suppression, and the introduction of exotic plants.
The Xerxes Society for Invertebrate Conservation has submitted a petition to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service requesting that Leona’s Little Blue butterfly be listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. Society believes that Leona’s Little Blue is in a critical state of extinction.
4. Schaus Swallowtail
- Current Estimated Numbers: 800 – 1,200
- Location (Range): Florida Keys, Florida, USA
- Scientific Name: Papilio aristodemus
The Schaus Swallowtail was once thought to be the rarest butterfly in Florida because its population had dwindled down to only a few hundred individuals.
However, thanks to decades of conservation efforts, the wild population of Schaus Swallowtail butterflies has rebounded, and its current estimated population varies between 800 and 1,200 individuals. Currently, the population is believed to be between 800 and 1,200 individuals.
After being placed on the list of vulnerable species in 1976, the Schaus Swallowtail was later reclassified as endangered in 1984 due to a substantial population drop that had occurred during that time.
Scientists from the University of Florida initiated a captive breeding program in 2014 with the intention of assisting in the recovery of the natural population of Schaus Swallowtail butterflies.
It was recently revealed that the efforts of the scientists, who released 50 adult butterflies and 200 caterpillars back into the environment, have managed to stabilize the number of Schaus Swallowtails in the Florida Keys.
5. Saint Francis Satyr
- Current Estimated Numbers: 500 – 1,400
- Location (Range): Fort Bragg, North Carolina, USA
- Scientific Name: Neonympha mitchellii Francisco
The Saint Francis Satyr has never had a large population and can only be discovered on Fort Bragg, which is located in the state of North Carolina.
Estimates of the Saint Francis Satyr population range from as little as 500 people to as many as 1,400, with most falling somewhere in the 700-1,400 range.
The Saint Francis Satyr butterfly, along with the majority of the other butterflies on this list, is considered to be an endangered species whose natural habitat is in danger.
The Saint Francis Satyr is a relatively recently found species of butterfly; in fact, it’s very first sighting wasn’t until the year 1983.
Biologists had not seen any more Saint Francis Satyrs until the mid-1990s when they were given permission to explore artillery ranges on Fort Bragg. The initial group of Saint Francis Satyrs perished, and there have not been any further sightings since.
6. Lange’s Metalmark
- Current Estimated Numbers: fewer than 450
- Location (Range): Antioch Sand Dunes, Contra Costa County, California, USA
- Scientific Name: Apodemia mormo langei
The Antioch Sand Dunes in California are the only known environment in which Lange’s Metalmark can be found. This is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to find.
Dr. John A. Comstock of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History found Lange’s Metalmark for the first time in 1933.
He called it after Henry Lange of the University of California at Davis, who was a professor there at the time. Due to the butterfly’s extreme rarity, it has never been discovered anywhere else in the world besides the Antioch Sand Dunes.
In 1976, Lange’s Metalmark was designated as an official federally endangered species, and since then, numerous attempts have been made to maintain a stable population of the species.
The female Lange’s Metalmark butterflies will only lay their eggs on a particular subspecies of buckwheat known as naked buckwheat, which is one of the primary causes for the Lange’s Metalmark’s extremely low population numbers.
7. Palos Verdes Blue
- Current Estimated Numbers: about 200
- Location (Range): Palos Verdes Peninsula, Los Angeles County, California, USA
- Scientific Name: Glaucopsyche lygdamus palosverdesensis
The Palos Verdes blue butterfly, along with many of the other rare butterflies on this list, was thought to be extinct for several decades.
After its final known habitat, a park area in Rancho Palos Verdes was destroyed in 1983, scientists believed that the Palos Verdes blue had utterly vanished from the earth.
On the other hand, the Palos Verdes blue was not detected again until 1994, when a small colony of approximately sixty butterflies was spotted on the premises of the Defence Fuel Supply Point in San Pedro.
Since that time, environmentalists have devised a plan to ensure that the Palos Verdes blue does not become extinct once more.
After being kept in captivity for a lot of years, Palos Verdes blue butterflies were finally released back into the wild in 2009. This action boosted the total number of individuals belonging to this species to more than 4,500 at the time.
Because of the persistent drought in California, the Palos Verdes blue population has suffered as a result, but fortunately, this population peak was only temporary.
It is estimated that there are only about 200 Palos Verdes blues left in the wild, however, there are approximately 1,450 pupa being reared in captivity as a backup at this time.
8. Island Marble
- Current Estimated Numbers: fewer than 200
- Location (Range): San Juan Islands, Washington, USA
- Scientific Name: Euchloe ausonides insulana
Due to the Island Marble butterfly’s extreme rarity, scientists determined that it had not been observed in more than a century and so considered it to be extinct. The Island Marble had not been seen since 1908 when it was last spotted in the Canadian Gulf Islands.
It was not until 1998 that it was found again, off the coast of Washington state, on San Juan Island. John Fleckenstein, a zoologist working for the state of Washington’s Department of Natural Resources, was the one who discovered the first specimen of the newly named Island Marble.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is making efforts at this time to have the Island Marble included on the list of endangered species.
Despite the best efforts of the scientific community, the population of Island Marbles has continued to see a decline in recent years. At the beginning of 2018, it was claimed that researchers at San Juan National Historic Park counted fewer than 200 Island Marbles.
9. Miami Blue
- Current Estimated Numbers: fewer than 100
- Location (Range): Florida Keys, Florida, USA
- Scientific Name: Florida Keys, Florida, USA
The Miami Blue used to be quite widespread and could be found all over the coastal mainland of Florida in years gone by.
It is thought that there are less than one hundred individuals of the Miami Blue nowadays after their population suffered a dramatic decline in recent years. Due to the extremely low population size and the fact that its range has been reduced to only the Florida Keys, the Miami Blue is the rarest butterfly in the world.
Miami Blue has suffered such a catastrophic decline as a result of the myriad dangers that threaten its natural environment.
In the 1980s, when coastal development in Florida was just getting started, the butterfly population took its first significant hit.
The next year, in 1992, Hurricane Andrew came very close to destroying the Miami Blue altogether. Up until the year 1999, no one had reported seeing any evidence of the Miami Blue, leading many people to fear that it had become extinct.
10. Richmond Birdwing
- Scientific Name: Ornithoptera richmondia
The Richmond Birdwing is a large butterfly found in eastern Australia. It is known for its vibrant green color and intricate wing patterns.
Habitat destruction, land clearing, and fragmentation have led to a significant decline in its population.
Conservation efforts are underway to protect and restore its habitat, but it remains one of the rarest butterflies in the world.
10 Rarest Butterflies in the World 2023 – Newshub360.net