Endangered butterfly needs special environment

August 05, 2002

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) -- Developing a park system that helps to restore endangered species is not as simple as setting aside land. Endangered species like the Fender's Blue butterfly have specific requirements that must be met before they can thrive.

Cheryl Schultz, a post-doctoral fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been studying Fender's Blue since 1993, and will present a talk on the topic on Tuesday at the annual Ecological Society of America meeting in Tucson. (See contact information below.)

Fender's Blue is a species that used to thrive in the prairies of Oregon, until its habitat was disturbed by farming and development. Only one half of one percent of this grassland remains in its native form.

Prairies were the earliest areas that were settled and farmed in Oregon, and few natural areas remain, explained Schultz. Now a coalition of environmentalists and planners are looking to restore Fender's Blue habitat in an area near Eugene, Ore., as part of a larger restoration project.

The Kincaid's lupine, a threatened wildflower that provides food for Fender's blue caterpillars, will be planted in restored areas. Other native grasses and wildflowers will be added so that the patches of land will function as native habitat.

Schultz and her collaborator, Elizabeth Crone, of the University of Montana, reviewed possible restoration sites to see if the butterfly would thrive. The Nature Conservancy is helping to choose sites that could potentially be bought and restored, a combination of public and private land.

Schultz and Crone evaluated 150 patches in all. "We analyzed whether or not patches would be colonized and how they might add to the overall system," said Schultz.

Patch size and connectivity interact, said Schultz. A small patch could contribute to the population if it is close to other patches. And if a patch is too far away from neighbors, it will never get colonized. Large and connected patches are those that do best, said Schultz. "That's not surprising, but we had to figure out how close and how big the patches need to be."

Schultz and Crone found that restored patches no more than three-fourths of a mile apart, and at least seven to 25 acres in size, benefit Fender's Blue butterflies far more than smaller or more isolated patches.

The Fender's Blue only live ten to fifteen days and during that time must find a place to lay enough eggs. Only about one in a hundred Fender's Blue eggs survive to become adult butterflies. "If the patch isn't big enough, then it might not replace itself by laying enough eggs," said Schultz.

Schultz also explained that it is not clear if captive rearing is necessary to restore the Fender's Blue to the area, or if with the right environment they will repopulate an area on their own.

Cheryl Schultz can be reached on Sunday through Wednesday at the Radisson Tucson City Center, telephone 520-624-8711. She will give an oral presentation in the Graham Meeting Room at 2:45 on Tuesday, August 5. At UC Santa Barbara her phone number is (805) 892-2529.
-end-


University of California - Santa Barbara

Related Endangered Species Articles from Brightsurf:

After election: making the endangered species act more effective
Following the presidential election, a leading group of scientists are making the case that a 'rule reversal' will not be sufficient to allow the Endangered Species Act to do its job.

Improving the Endangered Species Act requires more than rule reversal
Although species are disappearing at an alarming rate worldwide, the Trump administration recently finalized a series of substantial changes to the regulations that underpin the U.S.

New shark research targets a nearly endangered species
They are some of the most iconic and unique-looking creatures in our oceans.

Preservation of testicular cells to save endangered feline species
A research team at the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) developed a method to isolate and cryopreserve testicular cells.

Endangered species on supermarket shelves
Imagine purchasing products from your local grocer, only to find out that those products are comprised of critically endangered species!

What is an endangered species?
What makes for an endangered species classification isn't always obvious.

In developing nations, national parks could save endangered species
A new study of animal populations inside and outside a protected area in Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park, shows that protecting such an area from human interaction and development preserves not only chimps but many other mammal species.

New mathematical model can help save endangered species
One of the greatest challenges in saving endangered species is to predict if an animal population will die out.

Bioactive novel compounds from endangered tropical plant species
A Japan-based research team led by Kanazawa University has isolated 17 secondary metabolites, including three novel compounds from the valuable endangered tropical plant species Alangium longiflorum.

Newly discovered hummingbird species already critically endangered
In 2017, researchers working in the Ecuadorian Andes stumbled across a previously unknown species of hummingbird -- but as documented in a new study published in The Auk: Ornithological Advances, its small range, specialized habitat, and threats from human activity mean the newly described blue-throated hillstar is likely already critically endangered.

Read More: Endangered Species News and Endangered Species Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.