Skip to main content

Federal protection sought for dwindling Minnesota butterfly species

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is proposing two Midwest butterfly species be placed under federal protection after steep population declines.

The Dakota skipper, typically found in Minnesota, the Dakotas and Canada, has disappeared from half the sites where it once lived. USFWS is proposing the butterfly be classified as a "threatened" species.

The Star Tribune says the Dakota skipper is already on Minnesota’s list of endangered butterflies.

Another species, the Poweshiek skipperling, has a more grim future. The service wants to classify the species as "endangered" now that the butterfly is gone from 90 percent of places it previously inhabited.

The Poweshiek skipperling once lived in eight states, including Minnesota, and Canada. Now, the butterfly can only found in a few native prairie remnants in Wisconsin, Michigan and Manitoba, Canada.

The Minnesota Zoo launched a program, with funds from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, to help save the Poweshiek skipperling.

The loss of prairie land, home to both species, is the primary reason for the decline, according to USFWS.

Minnesota Public Radio reported Minnesota once had an estimated 18 million acres of prairie. Now, less than 1 percent remains.

USFWS is trying to preserve the prairie land that's left by recommending that thousands of acres across six Midwest states be designated as critical habitat.

Next Up


3 dead after plane crashes into house in Hermantown

Two people in the house were uninjured.


Destructive fire at Maple Grove greenhouse and nursery

The fire burned early Sunday morning at a longtime Maple Grove greenhouse and nursery.

st. cloud state university hockey

SCSU player hospitalized after being taken off ice on stretcher

Luedtke was checked into the boards in the first period and down for a reported 10-15 minutes.

Amber alert wisconsin

Amber Alert in Wisconsin: Search for missing 15-year-old girl

Police believe 15-year-old Kryssy King may be with a 22-year-old man.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 10.18.12 AM

3 St. Paul fast food restaurants robbed in space of an hour

The thieves struck between 7:15 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 9.06.40 AM

What to do with the Kmart site? Minneapolis wants your ideas

The project will connect Nicollet Avenue south of Lake street and north of the Midtown Greenway, reestablishing a street grid.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 7.53.55 AM

Crowd evacuated at end of homecoming football game in Brooklyn Park

Police blamed 'unruly teens' in the stands and some who were trying to enter the stadium.


State to help 44 Minnesota gas stations add E15 pumps

The yellow 88 button is coming to more gas stations in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 4.54.42 PM

FBI, police investigating bank robbery at Edina's 50th and France

An ATM technician was robbed by four men at a U.S. Bank.

Ethan Glynn

Paralyzed Bloomington football player begins rehabilitation in Colorado

Ethan Glynn is at a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital.


coronavirus, nurse

MN surrounded by states reporting record COVID-19 hospitalizations

Of 16,656 people tested in Wisconsin in the latest reporting period, more than 3,100 were positive.

MNZoo_Newly emerged Dakota skipper atop release box

Minnesota Zoo to release 700 endangered butterflies

The zoo will release Dakota skipper butterflies into the wild for the fifth year this week.