One of the world's largest butterflies is in danger of extinction -- soon -- if not protected, according to a report by University of Florida researchers published in The Journal of Insect Conservation.

At six inches across, the Homerus swallowtail is one of the largest butterflies in the world, and the largest in the Western hemisphere. Native to Jamaica, the Homerus now exists in just two spots on the island nation. While one of those sites is a Jamaica's only national park, researchers found just 50 adult butterflies at the second site.

The researchers suggest the creation of a second park and a captive breeding program to help preserve the species.

Story by John Platt. This article originally appeared in "Plenty" in August 2007.

Copyright Environ Press 2007

Western hemisphere's largest butterfly risks extinction
One of the world's largest butterflies faces extinction.