Saving our Species are asking land managers to report any sightings of this rare species from private property.
One of Australia’s rarest butterfly species, the Purple Copper Butterfly, is only found in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales. Its habitat is restricted to elevations above 900 metres.
The purple copper butterfly feeds only on a subspecies of blackthorn (Bursaria spinosa subspecies lasiophylla). It relies on a ‘mutualistic’ relationship with the ant Anonychomyrma itinerans, and the presence of blackthorn.
Community involvement is one of the key priorities in the purple copper butterfly conservation effort. Land managers of the butterfly’s habitat are being asked to help protect the butterfly through the upkeep of Bursaria often found in open eucalypt woodland on private property.
Saving our Species are also asking land managers to report any sightings of this species from private property. Reporting sightings will help to fill significant information gaps in the areas of population dynamics, habitat requirements, fire ecology and the nature of the relationship with the attendant ant. Learning more about this threatened species will help inform its recovery effort.
The purple copper butterfly is a small butterfly with a wingspan of about 2 centimetres. It can be identified by its collage of colours – bronze, green, blue, deep brown and of course purple undertones.
Butterflies are not only a beautiful insect but play several roles in the environment. They act as a pollinator; as a food source for other species; and are an important indicator of a healthy ecosystem.