If all goes according to plan, South San Francisco will soon have its first official fauna: the endangered Mission Blue Butterfly.
If the city council adopts the measure at its meeting Wednesday night, it will have given South City a most local mascot: the Mission Blue has an extremely limited territory, including Marin and Milagra Ridge, but its largest population, of approximately 18,000, may exist on San Bruno Mountain, according to the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
Councilmember Karyl Matsumoto proposed naming the Mission Blue the city's official butterfly. The Mission Blue was added to the federal endangered species list in 1976 and has died out completely in San Francisco's Twin Peaks. On San Bruno Mountain, the species feasts on summer lupine and varied lupine.
"Why is one little butterfly or one little plant so important?" said David Schooley, founder of San Bruno Mountain Watch. "That butterfly or that plant is an indicator of the whole habitat, and we’re unraveling that, it’s coming apart."
A staff report urges the council to adopt the butterfly in order to raise awareness about conservation and stewardship. The report also notes that the butterfly's distinctive blue color and look could serve as a unique civic symbol.