Locals are being urged to keep their eyes out for a particular rare breed of butterfly this spring, in hopes that the small action of spotting the beautiful bug could end up saving it from endangered status.
The purple copper butterfly is one of the rarest species of the insect in Australia. It is found in the Central Tablelands around Oberon, Bathurst and Lithgow.
The butterfly is active from late August until November each year and anyone can report sightings thanks to the Counting Coppers project.
Run by Butterflies Australia and the NSW Government's Saving our Species program, the Counting Coppers project asks citizen scientists to record their sightings through the easy-to-use Butterflies Australia app.
Each time the butterfly is another step in helping the NSW Government plan for the conservation and protection of the species.
Katy Wilkins, a threatened species officer with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE), said "the purple copper is a stunning butterfly but sadly it is considered one of 26 Australian butterflies at greatest risk of extinction".
"We don't know how many individuals remain but we would love the community to keep a look out this spring as it is possible extra eyes could help us find additional locations where this rare butterfly may live."
Butterfly hunters should focus on areas with native blackthorn, as the butterfly lives close to a species of ant that feeds on the plant. Due to their striking iridescent wings, the butterflies are easiest to spot while in flight on sunny, calm spring days.
Hints for where and how to look for butterflies:
The Butterflies Australia app can be downloaded for free from the Google and Apple app stores.
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