card
338

Taiwan Beech
Hairstreak

OLogy Series
animal
card
338

Taiwan Beech
Hairstreak

OLogy Series
animal

The rare Taiwan beech tree grows only in a few forests of northern Taiwan. These are also the only places you'll find a Taiwan Beech Hairstreak. This striking butterfly depends on the tree for survival. But the butterfly is so rare, collectors will cut down trees to get its eggs. Both the butterfly and the tree are at risk of becoming extinct. To save them, Taiwan has set up a nature reserve to protect the entire ecosystem.

This butterfly and the Taiwan beech tree are found deep in the mountains of northern Taiwan. These forests are called:

cloud forests

grasslands

rainforests

Are you right?

Correct!

Cloud forests are almost always covered in mist and clouds. They're usually found on mountain slopes in tropical and subtropical regions.

Like all butterflies, the body of this butterfly changes completely as it develops. It begins life as an egg, then hatches as a:

butterfly

larva

pupa

Are you right?

Correct!

As a larva, or caterpillar, it eats leaves and gains weight. Then it becomes a pupa, a stage where major transformation occurs. It eventually emerges as an adult butterfly that will fly, eat, mate, and lay eggs. And then the whole process begins again!

The adult Taiwan Beech Hairstreak butterfly is seen only in the:

spring

summer

fall

Are you right?

Correct!

This butterfly's egg lives through summer, fall, and winter. When spring arrives, larvae hatch to eat the young leaves of the Taiwan beech tree. Then they become pupae. The adults are usually seen by the end of spring.

Before 1990, scientists didn't know that the Taiwan Beech Hairstreak existed.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Butterfly specialist Yu-Feng Hsu first found it in 1992 and published his findings in 1994. Before then, the only known species in the genus was Japan's Fuji Beech Hairstreak!

In nearly 20 percent of the area in Taiwan, human activity is regulated to protect wildlife.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Many of Taiwan's natural forests and other unique ecosystems are designated as national parks, wildlife refuges, or nature reserves. These areas protect many butterfly species.

Scientific Name: Sibataniozephyrus kuafui
Status: vulnerable
Significance: This butterfly's entire habitat is protected by a nature reserve.
Range: mountains of northern Taiwan
Habitat: cloud forests
Host plant: Taiwan beech tree
Cool Fact: This butterfly's species name comes from Kuafu, a mythical Chinese character who died chasing the Sun.

Image credits: © National Museum of Natural Science Taiwan.