Endangered Schaus' swallowtail butterflies are found only on Elliott Key within Biscayne National Park in South Florida.
In 2012, the Schaus' swallowtail faced near extinction, with only four being counted in the wild. Eggs were collected and brought to the University of Florida to try to save the species.
Scientists recently released eleven adult females, four males and more than 300 larvae back to their natural habitat.
Credit: University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences file photo
butterfly lays pinhead-sized eggs on wild lime between April and June.
ten days later, larvae emerge and mature into caterpillars after three to four weeks.
caterpillars can grow up to three inches in length.
caterpillars then pupate and remain in their chrysalis until the following
Empty chrysalis after caterpillar emerges as a butterfly.
butterflies have a wingspan of up to 3.75 inches.
is only one generation of this species every year.
University of Florida lead researcher Jaret Daniels holding a Schaus' swallowtail.