Lithgow City Council is working to help improve habitat for the locally occurring endangered Purple Copper Butterfly in partnership with Lithgow Oberon Landcare Association (LOLA).

The Purple Copper Butterfly is a small butterfly that occurs within the Lithgow, Oberon and Bathurst LGAs, and is one of Australia’s rarest butterflies. It has a wingspan of approximately 20mm and has iridescent colours with open wings in sunlight when it is perching.

This butterfly has highly specific habitat requirements compared to other butterflies; it only occurs where both its required native food plant (Blackthorn – Bursaria spinosa ssp lasyophylla) and an ant species are present. It also only occurs at defined high altitudes.

Council and LOLA are continuing with a long-term program of on-ground improvement works, helping to enhance Purple Copper Butterfly habitat on Council managed lands around the Lithgow Solid Waste Facility.  Lithgow City Council has provided $10,000 in 2023/24 to LOLA to assist in the delivery of this partnership program of important works.

The program of works will focus on woody weed control undertaken by professional bush regenerators; removing physical barriers such as Blackberry and Broom, allowing the free movement of butterflies over their short life-cycle. Degraded areas will be revegetated with the establishment of suitable native plants species for the butterfly larvae that are solely dependent on Blackthorn to survive, prior to emerging into butterflies. The additional panting is scheduled for autumn 2024.

Volunteer Landcare activities are also supporting these works, More details can be found on the LOLA and Lithgow Council Facebook pages.