Once common throughout coastal southern Florida, the Miami blue butterfly now ranks among North America’s rarest insects.

While the main driver of the butterfly’s swift decline is unknown, tropical storms, habitat loss and coastal development have dramatically shrunk the Miami blue’s range. The only remaining wild populations of Miami blues live in the Key West and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuges where they remain vulnerable to climate change, hurricanes and dry spells.

Florida Museum of Natural History researchers are leading collaborative conservation and recovery efforts for Miami blue butterflies by monitoring wild populations, breeding the butterfly in the laboratory and closely studying its ecology to learn how to effectively re-establish it in the wild.

“Theoretically, one storm could wipe this butterfly out.” — Jaret Daniels, director of the Florida Museum’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity

Florida Museum photo by Geena M. Hill

Endangered Butterflies in a Changing Climate

To better reach more people about this at-risk species, the Daniels Lab partnered with several organizations on an exhibit to tell the story of the Miami blue butterflies.

Online exhibit

“This program is an example of why the Florida Museum matters. We’re involved in active conservation, stewarding the planet and protecting Miami blues as a crucial part of Florida’s natural heritage.” — Jaret Daniels

Florida Museum photo by Jeff Gage

Brewery partnership supports butterfly conservation

To help raise support for the Miami blue’s recovery, the Florida Museum partnered with First Magnitude Brewing Co. to produce a new limited-edition beer, Miami Blue Bock. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the beer, themed drinking glasses and T-shirts funds the Museum’s Miami blue research program.

This partnership has produced a number of beers to call attention to at-risk species and conservation efforts.

Beer for Butterflies


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