Island Marble Facts
- Most notably, the magnificent Island Marble remains an extremely rare species of Lepidoptera. Furthermore, it also happens to only inhabit an extremely limited portion of the world.
- In addition, entomologists actually previously believed it to be extinct in the wild, since 1908. That changed as the result of a survey undertaken in 1998, when researchers discovered several living individuals.
- However, despite all these factors, the gorgeous insect does not yet appear on the IUCN Red List. But the invertebrate has, quite understandably, been recommended for inclusion on that list.
- Finally, and sadly, it now faces numerous threats to its existence. Habitat loss and climate change pose serious dangers, in addition to invasive species. Yet, efforts to preserve the Island Marble are underway.
Island Marble Physical Description
First of all, the stunning Island Marble ranks as a medium-sized variety of butterfly. Mature individuals attain an average wing width of about 1.75 in (4.5 cm). In fact, it resembles the Cabbage White Butterfly in some ways.
Also, it generally has a primarily creamy-white appearance on the upper side. Yet, Nature coupled this with a greenish-yellow underneath. Additionally, the upper side has black patterned tips on the wings, and a black rectangle mid-wing.
But it also displays yet another feature which adds to its distinctive beauty. The majority of the body possesses a covering of thick, short, and extremely soft hairs. Lastly, these almost always develop as a brilliant white in color.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Lepidoptera
- Family: Pieridae
- Genus: Euchloe
- Species: E. a. insulana
Island Marble Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Firstly, the gorgeous Island Marble, unfortunately, only inhabits the San Juan Islands. These comprise a 4 island archipelago, technically forming San Juan County, in Washington State, in the United States, in North America.
Further, its known habitat consists solely of regions of coastal lagoons, prairies, and sand dunes. However, unlike the great majority of butterflies, this delicate beauty does not engage in migration.
It also has a rather surprising life cycle, perhaps as an adaptation to its environment. The insect spends the great majority of its short life, about one year, as a chrysalis. Its egg, larval, and adult stages last for short periods.
But, the Island Marble flies for very short periods during the spring, when the climatic conditions are just right. In an interesting case of adaptation, adults now feed almost exclusively on a non-native plant. Finally, it mates and lays eggs right after emerging from its chrysalis, living only a few days as an adult.