karner blue

Mark Walker MWalker at gensym.com
Fri Feb 5 17:19:04 EST 1999

Hi Ted,

I don't have answers to all of your questions, as I am no expert on the life
cycle of the Karner Blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis).  I have read of the
relationship of the butterfly's larva with a species of ant (which feeds on
larval secretions), but don't know to what extent the relationship is

The larval foodplant of L. melissa samuelis is indeed a Lupine, Wild Blue
Lupine (L. perennis I believe), a species whose habitat is rapidly
disappearing due to urban development, fire suppression, and agricultural
clearing.  The range of the foodplant expands well beyond the few areas
which sustain the declining populations of the Karner Blue, and so it's a
bit of a mystery to me why the butterfly hasn't been able to expand it's
range as well.  There must be some link to something else peculiar to the
Pine and Oak sand barren habitats where the butterfly is found.  The two
main areas outside of Wisconsin (I'm not too familiar with the status of the
butterfly in the Great Lakes region) are just north of Albany, N.Y., and in
a few pockets around Concord, N.H.  I tried in vain for several years to
locate other populations in the areas between these two so-called
strongholds.  I believe that the butterfly has also been extirpated from
Ontario, Canada.

As far as I know, the butterfly remains endangered.  Both the Albany and
Concord locations continue to lose ground to development, although there are
a few restoration projects in work in N.Y.  There is a possibility that
there are other yet-to-be-discovered eastern populations, but I am not aware
of any.  You might consider contacting Robert Dirig of Cornell (I will have
to dig up his info).  He might know more about the current status of the
N.Y. population.

Good luck, and please post any data of interest that you may obtain.

Hope this helps,

Mark Walker.
Mission Viejo, CA

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Ted Ryznar [SMTP:tryznar at MAIL.COSMOSBBS.COM]
> Sent:	Thursday, February 04, 1999 9:28 PM
> To:	leps-l at lists.yale.edu
> Subject:	karner blue
> Can someone give me some current info on the karner Blue Bfly.  Is it
> still
> endangered? Also where are the current know areas that it is still in
> existence? Its host plant is the lupine? 
> I thought a certain type of ant was necessary for its existence also,  is
> that true and if so could someone please explain their relationship.
> Thanks
> and sorry for all the questions.
> tryznar at mail.cosmosbbs.com

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