The Black Grass-dart Butterfly, Ocybadistes knightorum is endemic to the New South Wales north coast. The species has a very restricted distribution and a high degree of specificity, feeding as a larva only on Floyd's Grass, Alexfloydia repens. Both species and host-plant are listed as endangered in the State, partly because they were known from only a few localities at the time of listing. We have mapped the entire known habitat of the butterfly at a very fine scale using a hand-held GPS. A total of 293 patches of potential A. repens habitat were mapped and surveyed for O. knightorum. The butterflies were confirmed to occupy 155 of these patches, including all of the large patches (those 30.1 ha). The mapped habitat was found to be highly protected in reserves and environmental protection zones. However, despite the huge increase in known localities and their high degree of protection, serious threats remain that are operating wholly or partly independent of tenure. These include sea-level rise, weed invasion and anthropogenic disturbance. Further assessment of threats is needed to reappraise the conservation status of the species adequately.
The distribution of the endangered Black Grass-dart Butterfly, Ocybadistes knightorum (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae)
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Mick Andren, Mark Cameron; The distribution of the endangered Black Grass-dart Butterfly, Ocybadistes knightorum (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). Australian Zoologist 1 January 2012; 36 (2): 159–168. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2012.012
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