[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 74 (Monday, April 18, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-9218]

[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: April 18, 1994]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AC44


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Emergency Rule To 
List the Saint Francis' Satyr as Endangered

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Emergency rule.


SUMMARY: The Service exercises its emergency authority to determine the 
Saint Francis' satyr (Neonympha mitchellii francisci) to be an 
endangered species pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 
(Act), as amended. This butterfly is known from a single locality in 
North Carolina. Recent heavy collecting pressure has resulted in a 
reduction of the only known population and is believed to pose an 
imminent threat to the butterfly's existence. Protection from 
collecting is needed during the species' 1994 flight season while the 
Service proceeds with adopting permanent protection in accordance with 
the Act's requirements. This emergency rule will implement Federal 
protection for 240 days. A proposed rule to list the Saint Francis' 
satyr as endangered is published elsewhere in today's Federal Register. 
The proposed rule provides for public comment and a hearing (if 

EFFECTIVE DATE: This emergency determination is effective on April 18, 
1994 and expires on December 14, 1994. Due to the need for protecting 
the St. Francis' satyr from the effects of collecting, the Service 
finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective upon 
publication, as provided by 50 CFR 424.18(b)(1) and the Administrative 
Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3)).

ADDRESSES: The complete file for this rule is available for inspection, 
by appointment, during normal business hours at the Asheville Field 
Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 330 Ridgefield Court, 
Asheville, North Carolina 28806.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Nora Murdock at the above address 
(704/665-1195, Ext. 231).



    Neonympha mitchellii francisci is a subspecies of one of two North 
American species of Neonympha. One of the rarest butterflies in eastern 
North America, it was described by Parshall and Kral in 1989 from 
material collected in North Carolina. These authors estimated that the 
single known population probably produced less than 100 adults per 
year. Shortly thereafter, Saint Francis' satyr was reported to have 
been collected to extinction (Refsnider 1991, Schweitzer 1989). The 
subspecies was rediscovered at the type locality in 1992 during the 
course of a Service-funded status survey. The Act defines ``species'' 
to include ``any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any 
distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or 
wildlife * * *.'' Therefore, although N. m. francisci is recognized 
taxonomically as a subspecies, it will be referred to as a ``species'' 
throughout the remainder of this emergency rule.
    Saint Francis' satyr is a fairly small, dark brown butterfly and is 
a typical member of the Satyrinae, a subfamily of the Nymphalidae 
family, which includes many species commonly called satyrs and wood 
nymphs. The wingspan for the species ranges from 34 to 44 mm (Opler and 
Malikul 1992). Saint Francis' satyr and Mitchell's satyr, the northern 
subspecies (N. m. mitchellii), which was classified as endangered on 
May 20, 1992 (57 FR 21569), are nearly identical in size and show only 
a slight degree of sexual size dimorphism (Hall 1993, Parshall and Kral 
1989). Like most species in the wood nymph group, Saint Francis' satyr 
has conspicuous ``eyespots'' on the lower surfaces of the wings. These 
eyespots are dark maroon brown in the center, reflecting a silver cast 
in certain lights. The border of these dark eyespots is straw yellow in 
color, with an outermost border of dark brown. The eyespots are usually 
round to slightly oval and are well-developed on the fore wing as well 
as on the hind wing. The spots are accented by two bright orange bands 
along the posterior wing edges and two darker brown bands across the 
central portion of each wing. Saint Francis' satyr, like the nominate 
subspecies, can be distinguished from its North American congener, N. 
areolata, by the latter's well-marked eyespots on the upper wing 
surfaces and brighter orange bands on the hind wing, as well by its 
lighter coloration and stronger flight (Refsnider 1991, McAlpine et al. 
1960, Wilsman and Schweitzer 1991, Hall 1993).
    Saint Francis' satyr is extremely restricted geographically. 
Mitchell's satyr, the nominate subspecies, has been eliminated from 
approximately half its known range, primarily due to collecting 
(Refsnider 1991). Saint Francis' satyr is now known to exist as only a 
single population in North Carolina.
    The annual life cycle of N. m. francisci, unlike that of its 
northern relative, is bivoltine. That is, it has two adult flights or 
generations per year. Larval host plants are believed to be graminoids 
such as grasses, sedges, and rushes. Little else is known about the 
life history of this butterfly. The habitat occupied by this satyr 
consists primarily of wide, wet meadows dominated by sedges and other 
wetland graminoids. In the North Carolina sandhills, such meadows are 
often relicts of beaver activity. Unlike the habitat of Mitchell's 
satyr, the North Carolina species' habitat cannot be properly called a 
fen because the waters of this sandhills region are extremely poor in 
inorganic nutrients. Hall (1993) states:

    Whereas true fens--apparently the habitat of the northern form 
of N. mitchellii (Wilsman and Schweitzer 1991)--are circumneutral to 
basic in pH and are long-lasting features of the landscape, the 
boggy areas of the sandhills are quite acidic as well as ephemeral, 
succeeding either to pocosin or swamp forest if not kept open by 
frequent fire or beaver activity.

    Hall (1993) further states:

    Under the natural regime of frequent fires ignited by summer 
thunderstorms, the sandhills were once covered with a much more open 
type of woodland, dominated by longleaf pine, wiregrass, and other 
fire-tolerant species. The type of forest that currently exists 
along [the creek inhabited by Saint Francis' satyr] can only grow up 
under a long period of fire suppression. The dominance on this site 
of loblolly pine, moreover, is due primarily to past forestry 
management practices, not any form of natural succession.

    Parshall and Kral speculated that N. m. francisci is a relict from 
a more widespread southern distribution during the Pleistocene period. 
Hall (1993) presents the following alternative hypothesis:

    The current narrow distribution of francisci could also be a 
result of the enormous environmental changes that have occurred in 
the southern coastal plain just within the past 100 years. Only the 
discovery of additional populations or fossil remains can clarify 
this situation.

    Extensive searches have been made of suitable habitat in North 
Carolina and South Carolina, but no other populations of this butterfly 
have been found (Hall 1993, Schweitzer 1989).
    Federal government actions on this species began when it was 
included as a category 2 species in the November 21, 1991, animal 
notice of review (56 FR 58804). Category 2 species are those for which 
the Service believes that Federal listing as endangered or threatened 
is possibly appropriate but for which conclusive data on biological 
vulnerability and threat are not currently available to support 
proposed rules. Recent surveys have been conducted by Service and State 
personnel, and the Service now believes sufficient information exists 
to proceed with an emergency rule to list Neonympha mitchellii 
francisci as endangered.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4(a)(1) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and regulations 
(50 CFR part 424) promulgated to implement the listing provisions of 
the Act set forth the procedures for adding species to the Federal 
lists. A species may be determined to be an endangered or threatened 
species due to one or more of the five factors described in section 
4(a)(1). These factors and their application to Saint Francis' satyr 
(Neonympha mitchellii francisci) are as follows:
    A. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range. Because of its relatively recent 
discovery, it is impossible to determine what the original range of 
Saint Francis' satyr might have been. However, based upon its 
demonstrated dependency on periodic fires and the general trend of fire 
suppression on private lands, it seems reasonable to assume that it 
once occupied a more extensive area. As stated by Hall (1993):

    In order for francisci to have survived over the past 10,000 
years, there must surely have been more populations and greater 
numbers of individuals than apparently now exist * * * As is true 
for many species that were once widespread in the sandhills, massive 
habitat alteration must also be a major factor in the diminution of 
the range of francisci * * * reductions in francisci's range would 
have accompanied the extensive loss of wetland habitats in the 
coastal plain. Again, the draining of swamps, pocosins, Carolina 
bays, savannas, flatwoods, and bogs for conversion to agriculture 
and silviculture is well known. In the case of francisci, however, 
the extirpation of beavers from the Carolinas may have been the 
greatest factor.

    Beavers had been virtually eliminated from North Carolina by the 
turn of the century. Reintroductions began in 1939, but it was several 
decades before they again became an agent for creation of the sedge 
meadow habitats favored by Saint Francis' satyr (Hall 1993, Woodward 
and Hazel 1991). Hall further states:

    As the landscape mosaic of open woodlands and wetlands of the 
coastal plain declined throughout the past two centuries, the range 
of francisci must have become increasingly fragmented. Although 
isolated populations may have persisted as long as suitable habitat 
remained, the structure of their meta-populations would have been 
destroyed. Opportunistic colonization of newly available habitats as 
well as the repopulation of sites wiped clean by fire or other 
catastrophe would have become eventually impossible; one by one, the 
isolated remnants would have blinked out of existence. Although 
again speculative, the fracturing of meta-populations has been used 
to explain the decline of the arogos skipper and a number of 
butterflies associated with the tall-grass prairies (Panzer, 1988, 
D. Schweitzer, pers. comm.). That francisci was a relict to begin 
with only exacerbated this problem; the overall effect was to bring 
it as close to extinction as any butterfly in the country.

    The sole surviving population of this species is now fragmented 
into less than half a dozen small colonies that occupy a total area no 
larger than a few square miles.
    B. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes. Both subspecies of the Saint Francis' satyr are 
highly prized by collectors, including commercial collectors who often 
systematically collect every individual available. Several populations 
of the nominate subspecies are known to have been obliterated by 
collectors, and others are believed extremely vulnerable to this threat 
(Refsnider 1991). As mentioned in the ``Background'' section, the 
single known population of Saint Francis' satyr was so hard-hit by 
collectors in the 3 years following its initial discovery that it was 
believed to have been collected to extinction. Subsequent to the 
emergency listing of the nominate subspecies and prior to the 
publication of this rule, the North Carolina population was the last 
where Neonympha mitchellii could legally be collected. Following the 
emergency listing of Mitchell's satyr, the North Carolina Heritage 
Program received several inquiries from collectors about access to the 
last available population. Several expressed apprehension about any 
restriction on collecting of this rare and much-sought-after satyr. 
Collectors reportedly visited the known site every day throughout the 
flight periods, taking every adult they saw (Hall 1993). After this 
first wave of over-collection, many unsuccessful searches for the 
butterfly were made before it was eventually rediscovered. Numbers of 
individuals then seen were much lower than those reported by Parshall 
and Kral (1989), with the highest single count consisting of only 11 
butterflies (Hall 1993). Even though part of this population is 
protected from collectors by virtue of being within dangerous artillery 
impact areas, intensive collecting from the periphery of these areas 
could reduce total population numbers below levels needed for long-term 
survival. Very little is known about this species' life history and 
ecological requirements, but it appears to be a more vagile species 
than its northern relative. It may well be dependent upon a large meta-
population structure in order to colonize new sites or recolonize those 
from which it has been extirpated.
    C. Disease or predation. This butterfly, like others, is 
undoubtedly consumed by predators, but there is no evidence that 
predation is a threat to the species at this point. Disease is not 
known to be a factor in its decline.
    D. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms. Insects are 
not protected from collection under North Carolina law. There are also 
no Department of Defense regulations that would restrict collecting of 
Saint Francis' satyr in North Carolina. Federal listing of this species 
will provide legal protection against indiscriminate taking and illegal 
    E. Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence. Although the habitat occupied by this species is dependent 
upon some form of disturbance to set back succession (e.g., periodic 
fire and/or beaver impoundments), intense fires at critical times 
during the life cycle of the species can eliminate small colonies. 
Historically, this did not present a problem since there were 
undoubtedly other adjacent populations that could recolonize extirpated 
sites. However, the fact that only one population of this species now 
remains makes it more vulnerable to such threats as catastrophic 
climatic events, inbreeding depression, disease, and parasitism. Part 
of the occupied area is adjacent to regularly traveled roads, where 
there is the threat of toxic chemical spills into the species' wetland 
habitat. Current military use of the impact areas is favorable to this 
species; the frequent fires associated with shelling are undoubtedly a 
principal reason why the species is surviving on military lands and not 
on surrounding private lands. Department of Defense personnel are aware 
of the species' plight and have been cooperative in protection efforts. 
However, heavy siltation is a potential problem that could threaten the 
small drainages occupied by the species. Although troop movements 
directly through an area occupied by the satyr could have negative 
impacts, this has not occurred to date; these activities have now been 
directed away from areas where the satyr occurs. Other potential 
threats to the species include pest control programs (for mosquitoes or 
gypsy moths) and beaver control.

Reasons for Emergency Determination

    In developing this rule the Service has carefully assessed the best 
scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, 
present, and future threats faced by this species. Based on this 
evaluation, the preferred action is to list Saint Francis' satyr as 
endangered on an emergency basis. With only one population remaining 
(and this one having already been diminished by intensive collecting) 
and with the other subspecies having been completely eliminated from 
half the States where it historically occurred, the threat of over-
collection cannot be denied. The Service has concluded that conducting 
the normal listing process will delay protection of the species until 
after the 1994 flight period, thus subjecting the species to an 
additional year of excessive collecting pressure. The resulting 
potential for further reduction of this last population could severely 
reduce the probability of the species' survival. Therefore, the Service 
is listing the species on an emergency basis to provide maximum 
protection to the known population during the 1994 flight period.

Critical Habitat

    Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, as amended, requires that, to the 
maximum extent prudent and determinable, the Secretary designate 
critical habitat at the time a species is determined to be endangered 
or threatened. At this time the Service has made a preliminary finding 
that designation of critical habitat is not prudent for this species. 
As discussed under Factor B in the ``Summary of Factors Affecting the 
Species'' section, Saint Francis' satyr has already been impacted by 
over-collecting and continues to be threatened by collecting pressure. 
Publication of critical habitat descriptions and maps would make the 
satyr more vulnerable to collection and would increase enforcement 
problems and the likelihood of extinction. Protection of this species' 
habitat will be addressed through the recovery process and through the 
Section 7 jeopardy standard. The single remaining population is located 
on military lands, where the Department of Defense is aware of its 
occurrence. Comments regarding the designation of critical habitat will 
be accepted and reviewed during the comment period established by the 
proposed rule, which is published in this issue of the Federal 

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Endangered Species Act include recognition, 
recovery actions, requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions 
against certain practices. Recognition through listing encourages and 
results in conservation actions by Federal, State, and private 
agencies, groups, and individuals. The Endangered Species Act provides 
for possible land acquisition and cooperation with the States and 
requires that recovery actions be carried out for all listed species. 
The protection required of Federal agencies and the prohibitions 
against certain activities involving listed animals are discussed, in 
part, below.
    Section 7(a) of the Act, as amended, requires Federal agencies to 
evaluate their actions with respect to any species that is proposed or 
listed as endangered or threatened and with respect to its critical 
habitat, if any is being designated. Regulations implementing this 
interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR 
part 402. Section 7(a)(4) requires Federal agencies to confer 
informally with the Service on any action that is likely to jeopardize 
the continued existence of a proposed species or result in the 
destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. If 
the species is listed subsequently, Section 7(a)(2) requires Federal 
agencies to ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out 
are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of such a species 
or to destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. If a Federal 
action may affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the 
responsible Federal agency must enter into formal consultation with the 
Service. Federal activities that could impact Saint Francis' satyr and 
its habitat in the future include, but are not limited to, the 
following: road and firebreak construction, pesticide application, 
beaver control, troop movements, prescribed burning and fire 
suppression, and facilities construction. The only known population is 
located on military lands, where the Department of Defense is already 
working with the Service to secure the protection and proper management 
of Saint Francis' satyr while accommodating military activities to the 
extent possible. Conservation of this butterfly is consistent with most 
ongoing military operations at the occupied site, and the listing of 
the species is not expected to result in significant restrictions on 
military use of the land.
    The Act and implementing regulations found at 50 CFR 17.21 set 
forth a series of general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all 
endangered wildlife. These prohibitions, in part, make it illegal for 
any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to take 
(includes harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, or 
collect; or to attempt any of these), import or export, ship in 
interstate commerce in the course of a commercial activity, or sell or 
offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce and listed species. It 
also is illegal to possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship 
any such wildlife that has been taken illegally. Certain exceptions 
apply to agents of the Service and State conservation agencies.
    Permits may be issued to carry out otherwise prohibited activities 
involving endangered wildlife species under certain circumstances. 
Regulations governing permits are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.23. Such 
permits are available for scientific purposes, to enhance the 
propagation or survival of the species, and/or for incidental take in 
connection with otherwise lawful activities.

References Cited

Hall, S. 1993. A rangewide status survey of Saint Francis' satyr 
Neonympha mitchellii francisci (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Report to 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Field Office, 
Asheville, NC. 44 pp.
McAlpine, W., S. Hubble, and T. Pliske. 1960. The distribution, 
habits, and life history of Euptychia mitchellii (Satyrinae). J. 
Lep. Soc. 14:209-225.
Opler, P., and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern 
butterflies. Houghton Miflin Co., New York.
Parshall, D. K., and T. W. Kral. 1989. A new subspecies of Neonympha 
mitchellii (French) (Satyrinae) from North Carolina. J. Lep. Soc. 
Refsnider, R. 1991. Emergency rule to list the Mitchell's satyr as 
endangered. Federal Register 56(122):28825.
Schweitzer, D. 1989. A review of category 2 insects in the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service's Regions 3, 4, and 5. Report to the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Newton Corner, MA. Pp. 132-133.
Wilsman, L., and D. Schweitzer. 1991. A rangewide status survey of 
Mitchell's satyr, Neonympha mitchellii mitchellii (Lepidoptera: 
Nymphalidae). Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 
3, Endangered Species Office, Twin Cities, MN.
Woodward, D., and R. Hazel. 1991. Beavers in North Carolina; 
ecology, utilization, and management. Cooperative Extension Service 
Publication No. AG-434, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, 


    The primary author of this proposed rule is Ms. Nora Murdock (see 
Addresses section) (704/665-1195, Ext. 231).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, and Transportation.

Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, effective April 18, 1994 until December 14, 1994, part 
17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations, is amended as set forth below:


    (1) The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as 

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

    (2) Section 17.11(h) is amended by adding the following, in 
alphabetical order under ``Insects,'' to the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife to read as follows:

Sec. 17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

                      Species                                                    Vertebrate population                                                  
----------------------------------------------------      Historic range          where endangered or      Status    When listed    Critical    Special 
       Common name              Scientific name                                       threatened                                    habitat      rules  
                                                                      * * * * * * *                                                                     
                                                                      * * * * * * *                                                                     
    Butterfly, Saint       Neonympha mitchellii      U.S.A. (NC).............  NA......................  E                   539           NA         NA
     Francis' satyr.        francisci.                                                                                                                  
                                                                      * * * * * * *                                                                     

    Dated: April 8, 1994.
Mollie H. Beattie,
Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 94-9218 Filed 4-17-94; 8:45 am]