Speyeria idalia is a prairie specialist that has experienced dramatic population declines throughout its range. Speyeria idalia is nearly extirpated from the eastern portion of its former range; however, populations within Kansas are relatively stable. We made several previously undescribed field observations of late-instar larvae and post-diapause female S. idalia in northeastern Kansas during 2014–2016. We report finding late-instar larvae at locations that were burned within weeks of detection. The observations of larvae shortly following a burn suggests that S. idalia larvae are capable of surviving fire and contradicts our current knowledge of this species. Additionally, we describe a feeding behavior characteristic of late-instar larvae. Larvae observed in the field and lab stripped leaves of host plants leaving only stems. This strip-style feeding behavior provided unique feeding evidence that was valuable to detecting the presence of larvae in the field. Finally, we documented larvae and post-diapause, egg depositing females using Viola sororia. The use of this relatively widespread and common plant by S. idalia populations in the Central Great Plains has only been implicitly documented but may have important conservation implications. These novel observations further our knowledge of the ecology of this imperiled species and provide timely information that may improve research and conservation management efforts directed toward S. idalia populations.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Novel observations of larval fire survival, feeding behavior, and host plant use in the regal fritillary, Speyeria idalia (Drury) (Nymphalidae)|
|Series title||Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society|
|Publisher||The Lepidopterists’ Society|
|Contributing office(s)||Coop Res Unit Seattle|