Karner Blue

The Karner blue, Lycaeides melissa samuelis, is an endangered species of small, blue butterfly which is found in significant numbers within the Miller Beach community of the Indiana Dunes National Park. The butterfly is also found in other parts of the Great Lakes in small areas of New Jersey, and also in southern New Hampshire, and the Capital District region of New York. The butterfly, whose lifecycle depends on the wild blue lupine flower (Lupinus perennis), is classified as an endangered species. In May 2000, the Canadian Species at Risk Act listed the Karner blue as being locally extinct in Canada.[1] This subspecies of Lycaeides melissa was described by novelist Vladimir Nabokov. It is sometimes placed in the genus Plebejus.[2] Local conservation efforts, concentrating on replanting large areas of blue lupine which have been lost to development (and to fire suppression, which destroys the open, sandy habitat required by blue lupine), are having modest success at encouraging the butterfly's repopulation. The Karner blue is the official state butterfly of New Hampshire. The Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in central Wisconsin is home to the world's largest population of Karner blues, which benefit from its vast area of savannah and extensive lupine. The Karner blue was first identified and named by novelist and lepidopterist Vladimir Nabokov. The name originates from Karner, New York (located half-way between Albany and Schenectady) in the Albany Pine Bush), where it was first discovered. Lupine blooms in late May. There are two generations of Karner blues per year. The first in late May to mid June. The second from mid-July to mid-August. In the novel Pnin, Nabokov describes a score of Karner blues without naming them. Description The male and female of this small (wingspan of about one inch) butterfly are different in appearance. The topside

of the male is silvery or dark blue with narrow black margins. The female is grayish brown, especially on the outer portions of the wings, to blue on the topside, with irregular bands of orange crescents inside the narrow black border. The underside of both sexes is gray with a continuous band of orange crescents along the edges of both wings and with scattered black spots circled with white.[4] [edit]Distribution and habitat The Karner blue butterfly occurs in isolated populations in Miller Beach, Indiana, eastern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, and New York. Reintroductions have been initiated in Ohio and New Hampshire. The Karner blue butterfly appears extirpated from Iowa, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maine, and Ontario.[5][6] Although Karner blue butterflies are characteristic of oak savannas (Quercus spp.) and pine barrens (Pinus spp.) habitats, they also occur in frequently disturbed areas such as rights-of-way, old fields, and road margins. In east-central New York, Karner blue butterflies occurred in 3 rights-of-way habitat types: wild lily-of-the-valley-starflower (Maianthemum canadensis-Trientalis borealis), sweetfern-whorled yellow loosestrife (Comptonia peregrina-Lysimachia quadrifolia), and blackberry-sheep sorrel (Rubus spp.-Rumex acetosella). An index of Karner blue population size was highest in the wild lily-of-the-valley-starflower type. In this habitat, mosses (Bryophyta, 6.9%), wild lily-of-the-valley (4.4%), grasses (Poaceae, 4.4%), and starflower (2.1%) had the highest cover. Coverage in the sweetfern-whorled yellow loosestrife type was dominated by grasses (40.9%), sweetfern (12.1%), mosses (9.4%), and whorled yellow loosestrife (5.2%). In the blackberry-sheep sorrel type, the dominants included grasses (22.7%), northern dewberry (Rubus flagellaris, 5.0%), other blackberries (4.8%), and sheep sorrel (4.3%).