The Oregon Zoo Releases Hundreds of Endangered Silverspot Caterpillars Back Into the Wild

The Oregon Zoo released hundreds of Oregon Silverspot caterpillars back into the wild as part of a specific conservation project. This particular pollinating butterfly was near extinction until the zoo stepped in to help the species recover.

We released hundreds of Oregon silverspot butterfly caterpillars with our partners yesterday to give these rare pollinators a chance at survival 

Each egg was hatched and raised in the safety of a controlled environment that mimicked that of their natural environment. Once the caterpillars are completely viable, they are released.

Each summer, a small number of female silverspots are collected by field biologists and brought to the zoo to lay eggs. The eggs hatch into tiny caterpillars, which are kept safe during their winter dormancy. In the spring, they wake up to a leafy meal and grow quickly. When the time is right, the zoo and its conservation partners transport the silverspots — either as caterpillars or pupae — to field sites in order to bolster the three remaining Oregon populations.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.