The mottled duskywing butterfly has nearly vanished from Ontario, but University of Guelph biologists hope to help restore the endangered species. Federal funding worth $825,000 will drive a five-year research project intended ultimately to reintroduce the insect.
The goal is to reverse the devastating effect of habitat loss due to human development. The species was declared endangered in Canada in 2012, and lives in only a few small pockets in the province.
“If it works, it will be a big achievement,” says integrative biology professor Ryan Norris, adding that he hopes the project will also yield insights about restoring other threatened creatures. He said no butterfly has been successfully reintroduced in Ontario.