The BC Conservation Data Centre recently sent around information on this year’s updates to the taxonomy and status ranks of species and ecosystems in BC, including butterflies. Below is some excerpted info on the process and specific updates for butterflies in BC:
All of the butterflies were reviewed this year: 315 species and subspecies. The majority of the rank changes were due to the re-assessment of original in formation using current ranking methodology. Three of these species were taken off of the Blue list and placed on the Red list, including Erynnis propertius (Propertius Duskywing) and Euphyes vestris (Dun Skipper), both found on Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland, along with Papilio machaon pikei (Old World Swallowtail, pikei subspecies) from the grassy slopes of the Peace River canyon.
Hesperia colorado oregonia (Western Branded Skipper, oregonia subspecies) changed from S2S3 to S1 (Blue to Red list). This species has few occurrences within a limited range on Vancouver Island and threats are very high within the remaining habitat. It is found within Garry oak and coastal sand ecosystems which are both rare and endangered within the province. Of the 16 historical sites known, only four are extant.
Cupido comyntas (Eastern Tailed Blue) was re-assessed to exclude unconfirmed records outside of the Pend-d’Oreille River valley; this resulted in a more at risk rank; changing from S4 to S2S3, putting it on the Blue List. This butterfly has a very small range in the Pend-d’Oreille valley and adjacent lower Columbia River valley.
One new species, Plebejus anna (S4), was added to the Provincial List this year, along with 12 subspecies: Callophrys gryneus plicataria, Callophrys gryneus rosneri, Cercyonis oetus charon, Cercyonis oetus oetus, Cercyonis oetus phocus, Hesperia comma manitoba, Plebejus anna ricei, Plebejus anna vancouverensis, Polygonia oreas silenus, Polygonia oreas threatfuli, Speyeria callippe chilcotinensis and Speyeria callippe semivirida.
Details of the 2013 taxonomy, classification and rank changes can be found on the Endangered Species and Ecosystems Changes web page under the heading: 2012/13 Changes. http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/