Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Even better, they're thriving in the environment. 

Jordi Lippe-McGraw

Los Angeles International Airport may be a transportation hub for travelers, but it’s also home to one of the world’s most rare butterflies. Hidden in the bushes near the end of the runway are thousands of endangered El Segundo blue butterflies.

The tiny critters (the size of a thumbnail) have taken up shop in the nation’s third busiest airport despite the excessive noise and smells. “As long as it has its buckwheat, it can eat, grow, survive, and it’s happy,” LAX environmental supervisor Erica Blyther told National Geographic.

In fact, not only are they thriving in the strange environment, but the airport habitat has increased the population. New colonies have been discovered in other areas away from the airport, and experts estimate around 25,000 butterflies were flying around the airport last summer despite the drought. This is a sharp contrast to the 1980s, when less than a thousand butterflies were at LAX.

So, next time you’re taxiing the runway in L.A., take a peek out the window and you might just get a glimpse of the rare creature.

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