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Habitat use by the endangered Karner blue butterfly in oak woodlands: The influence of canopy cover

Biological Conservation

By:
, , and

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Abstract

The Karner blue butterfly Lycaeides melissa samuelis is an endangered species residing in the Great Lakes and northeastern regions of the United States. Increased canopy cover is a major factor implicated in the decline of the Karner blue at many locales. Therefore, we examined how the butterfly's behavior varied with canopy cover. Adult males at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore used habitat under canopy openings for nearly 90% of their activities; females used openings and shaded areas more equally. The frequency of oviposition on the sole host plant, wild lupine Lupinus perennis, was highest under 30-60% canopy cover even though lupine was more abundant in more open areas. Larvae fed preferentially on larger lupine plants and on lupines in denser patches. However, lupines were generally large in the shade. Therefore, shade-related trade-offs existed between lupine abundance and distribution of larval feeding and oviposition. Also, heterogeneity of shading by sub-canopy woody vegetation was greater at oviposition sites than at sites where lupine did not grow. Given the importance of shade heterogeneity, a mixture of canopy opening and shades, on a scale similar to daily adult movement range, should be beneficial for this butterfly.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Habitat use by the endangered Karner blue butterfly in oak woodlands: The influence of canopy cover
Series title:
Biological Conservation
Volume
85
Year Published:
1998
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Contributing office(s):
Great Lakes Science Center
Description:
p. 47-53
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Biological Conservation
First page:
47
Last page:
53
Number of Pages:
6