ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) -- Rare butterfly caterpillars have returned to the slopes of Saddle Mountain in the Oregon Coast Range.
The Daily Astorian reports 500 Oregon silverspot caterpillars have been released there as part of an effort to rebuild the threatened butterfly's population at key sites.
Trevor Taylor of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department describes Saddle Mountain as "prime real estate" for the red-orange butterflies marked with distinctive silver spots.
Saddle Mountain remains one of the few sites where the Oregon silverspot's main source of food -- the early blue violet -- blooms in abundance.
It's unknown why the small butterfly disappeared from the mountain. People who searched for silverspots on the mountain in the 1970s saw them; when people went looking again in the 2000s, they were gone.