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Jumat, 24 Juni 2011

Description Of Karner Blue Butterfly

The Karner blue butterfly (Lycaedes melissa samuelis) was first described more than a century ago in Karner, New York. It is a small butterfly, with a wingspan of about one inch. The male's wings are distinctively marked with a silvery or dark blue color.

Karner blues are found in the northern range of wild lupine habitat. Wild lupine(Lupinus perennis) is a small, often attractively flowered plant that occurs in pine barrens and oak savannas in New Hampshire, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota. The Karner blue's habitat is likely to be a patchwork of pitch pine and scrub oak scattered among open grassy areas. Historically, a network of these openings among the trees was maintained by wildfire, and at one time the butterfly was found in this habitat in a nearly continuous narrow band across 10 states and one province. Today it has been eliminated from at least five of these states. In the Northeast today, suitable habitat for the Karner blue is found in the Albany Pine Bush of New York and the Concord Pine Barrens of New Hampshire.

Habitat throughout the range of the Karner blue has been lost through human activity to suppress wildfire, cultivate forests and develop communities. The remaining habitat has been divided into small, separated segments. This fragmentation of remaining habitat prevents the Karner blue from moving and spreading, resulting in small populations that are isolated from each other. The Karner blue butterfly's habitat needs are very specific and it is unable to adapt to the human-caused changes in its environment. Habitat fragmentation and loss, combined with the extremely small size of the remaining population, are the greatest threats to the Karner blue butterfly's continued existence in the Northeast and elsewhere in the country.