Endangered plants, butterfly barely hanging on in Southwest Colorado

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Endangered plants, butterfly barely hanging on in Southwest Colorado

Small populations of cactus, butterfly, flower at risk of disappearing
Knowlton’s cactus is a penny-sized plant found in the piñon-juniper woodland near the Colorado and New Mexico border. Researchers estimated the plant’s population at 100,000 in 1960, but collectors reduced the population to just 1,000 by 1979.
The Uncompahgre fritillary butterfly was first found in the San Juan Mountains in 1978 and was named after the nearby Uncompahgre Peak.
Climate change may be the most significant threat to the Uncompahgre fritillary butterfly, which lives at elevations between 12,000 and 13,600 feet.
The Pagosa skyrocket is able to grow only on barren, Mancos Shale outcrops at elevations between 6,400 to 8,100 feet.
The Pagosa skyrocket, exclusive to Archuleta County, was listed as endangered on Aug. 26, 2011.
Series

Herald Staff Writer Jonathan Romeo’s three-part series includes stories about endangered or threatened mammals, birds, insects and plants in La Plata County.
All stories are available at www.durangoherald.com.
Part 1: Mammals (April 1)Part 2: Birds (April 8)Part 3: Plants, insects (today)

Endangered plants, butterfly barely hanging on in Southwest Colorado

Knowlton’s cactus is a penny-sized plant found in the piñon-juniper woodland near the Colorado and New Mexico border. Researchers estimated the plant’s population at 100,000 in 1960, but collectors reduced the population to just 1,000 by 1979.
The Uncompahgre fritillary butterfly was first found in the San Juan Mountains in 1978 and was named after the nearby Uncompahgre Peak.
Climate change may be the most significant threat to the Uncompahgre fritillary butterfly, which lives at elevations between 12,000 and 13,600 feet.
The Pagosa skyrocket is able to grow only on barren, Mancos Shale outcrops at elevations between 6,400 to 8,100 feet.
The Pagosa skyrocket, exclusive to Archuleta County, was listed as endangered on Aug. 26, 2011.
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