Cathy Carnes 920-866-1732
Rachel F. Levin 612-713-5311
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Approves Recovery Plan For The Karner Blue Butterfly
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released the final recovery plan for the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The butterfly, which depends on savanna and barrens habitats and the wild lupine plants that grow in them, was listed as endangered on January 21, 1992.
The recovery plan is the result of a multi-year effort by
federal and state conservation agencies, technical consultants, and
academics and provides a blueprint for action by agencies, conservation
organizations and private landowners interested in helping in the recovery
of this endangered species. The recovery plan outlines voluntary programs to
secure and protect current butterfly habitat and recommends one new
reintroduction of the butterfly into an area where it once lived.
Historically, the Karner blue butterfly occurred in 12 states and the province of Ontario. The butterfly’s current range has been reduced to just seven states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, New Hampshire, New York and Ohio. Wisconsin and Michigan support the majority of populations throughout the range. Efforts to reintroduce the butterfly to its former range are ongoing in Concord, N.H., West Gary, Ind., and northwest Ohio.
The Karner blue butterfly is a small butterfly with a wingspan of about one inch. The male is striking violet blue in color. Because it is a weak flyer, it does not move far from its home habitat patch. Wild lupine is the only plant the Karner blue caterpillars are known to eat.
Threats to Karner blue butterfly survival include loss and alteration of habitat due to commercial, residential and agricultural development; habitat fragmentation; and habitat degradation resulting from succession. Today, the butterfly inhabits remnant savanna and barrens habitats, as well as other more disturbed habitat areas including younger forest stands. Some of these habitat areas are found on military bases, utility and roadway corridors, and airports.
Savanna/barrens habitat is a unique and globally imperiled
ecosystem supporting a host of rare species that will benefit from habitat
protection and restoration activities identified in the Karner blue
butterfly recovery plan. Rare species that depend on savanna/barrens habitat
include the Persius dusky wing and frosted elfin butterflies, prairie
fameflower, slender glass lizard, Blanding’s turtle, sharp-tailed grouse,
and loggerhead shrike.
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